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St. Louis Post Dispatch career column

Below is an excerpt from my latest St. Louis Post Dispatch Career Column. Read the entire column here, and please let me know what you think!

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“If it weren’t for the other people on my team, I could manage this project with ease!”

I’ve heard this kind of thinking more times than I can count. Professionals judge the leadership of others negatively, and therefore presume they could do the job better. Some of them climb the ladder and indeed get that opportunity — but when they get there, they quickly realize the real skill set involves the ability to influence, encourage, support, mentor and assist in the development of each team member. They realize effective leadership is not dictatorship.

So, how do you know if you are ready to lead? Here are three core principles/characteristics that could make you an effective leader.

1. Trust and/or hire team members who have skills you do not. Some managers have a belief they are leaders because of only one thing — “what they know.” If you base your value as a leader only on what you know, you will lead out of fear that someone else is going to take your job, and thereby stifle your career and business growth. This leads to insecurity — a leader who is skeptical of the very people that could grow the business. But it’s not all about you. Great leaders know the value of hiring the most talented employees in the organization, leveraging their unique skills and ability so that together they can reach a new level of accomplishments. This kind of leader has the ability to see the big picture and effectively structure and influence others in accomplishing growth for the business.

2. Know how and when to let go. I’ve helped many Career Coaching clients obtain jobs… Read the rest of the column here.