The gifted engineer

By Rodger Dean Duncan via forbes.com   Article

Lead Like It Matters: Enrich Your Job, Boost Your Career

“We’ve all seen it: The hotshot salesman who bombs when he’s appointed sales manager. The gifted engineer who seems lost in a new supervisory role. The skilled lawyer who totally stumbles when promoted to a role that involves leading others.

Roxi Bahar Hewertson has seen it, too. She’s an executive coach who’s worked with up-and-comers in a wide range of industries. Her new book is Lead Like It Matter (Because It Does).

I talked with Hewertson about issues that often challenge people who are transitioning into new roles or who want to be more effective in their current roles.

Rodger Dean Duncan: Most people will acknowledge that leading and individual contribution require different skills sets. You say they even requireopposite skills sets and motivation. Can you elaborate?

Roxi Hewertson: We are rewarded all our lives for what we do individually—from learning to walk and talk, to our first big job assignment. The focus and light are shining on “me” and the focus is on what “I do.”  When we become leaders, it’s not about “me” any longer. It’s now about the success of other people. It’s changed from “me” to “we” and this is an opposite mindset not just a different one. This requires both a reversal in priorities and the skill sets that go with those priorities because the work is now about inspiring others to want to do their best work. It shifts from intrinsic motivation to extrinsic inspiration.

The idea that someone can be a virtuoso violin player and then be appointed as the leader of a quartet of violin players is a good example. The skills to play are completely opposite the skills to lead others in playing well together. The individual player is focused on herself. The leader is focused on the entire group and what each of them produces. It’s Me vs. We.”

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