From guest blogger, Craig Miller.

Most managers I meet (and I include myself) were promoted not because we had management talent, but because we were better than the rest at performing tasks and getting things done. The brutal moment in a manager’s life is when we realize that what we have become really good at is not actually what we need in order to succeed at the management level. Over the three years I spent in the Generative Leadership Program (GLP), I learned how to lead and manage others. Since then, I have learned how to coach leaders and managers as well. This is my story and I hope it will serve yours.

I still remember the day I was invited to become a manager. I had spent years becoming a very competent salesperson. I had learned how to listen, how to ask good questions, how to uncover needs and of course, how to close the sale. My boss called me in and explained that the only way to really increase our top-line revenue was to build a team and manage other salespeople. I got right to work and was excited about the challenge. My role models through the years had been leaders who were very good at getting things done and doing the work, which allowed them to grow in the company; but they were not the most accomplished in terms of leading and managing others. I quickly noticed that just because I knew how to perform, did not mean that I knew how to manage other performers. I was consistently pushing harder and harder and often exhausted, thinking “why am I spending my time talking to this guy once again, when I could just go do it all myself?” I quickly became frustrated and overwhelmed, as I not only had to step up my game but also take responsibility for the performance of others. Have you ever found yourself thinking you were prepared for something, and then you realize you are not ready at all? Have you also felt extremely uncomfortable admitting this to anyone?

Through GLP, I learned that effective managers and leaders do not actually have to know what everyone should be doing. Instead, they focus on the end-game…what will it actually look like for this team to be successful? I learned that by giving myself permission to be a beginner, and simply sharing my vision of success with the team, the team members actually began contributing, and amazingly brought more commitment. I noticed that the more I showed them I was there to help them perform and believed in their ability to grow, the more they increased their performance…often way beyond what I thought was possible. I learned the importance of listening and how much it is an essential part of great leadership. For me listening is about thinking I know what should be done next, and then practicing the ability to ask the person on my team, “what do you think?” The key, however, is that I truly want to know what they think, and I have learned to listen to their ideas and suggestions, as opposed to simply finding a way to explain and drive my own. Admittedly, this way of leading does take longer in the short run and may not be the most effective game plan if you care only about this month’s or this quarter’s results. However, if you are playing the long game, I don’t know any better way.

Over the last 10 years, after having left my corporate role, I have become a very successful executive coach. I now work with successful dissatisfied leaders, and I spend my professional time helping leaders and managers to become more effective and more satisfied. I help them to learn how to better listen for the commitment of their team, rather than tell people what to do and how to do it. I spend about 50% of my professional time working one on one with leaders and the other half with the entire team during extended projects.

Effective management and leadership require very different skills than those which most often created the promotion in the first place, and the good news is that these skills can be learned. I am grateful to have been exposed to GLP, and I am proud to be helping other leaders and managers find the ease and importance of allowing others to produce a future which matters to everyone in the organization.

You can read more Generative Success Stories HERE.

About the Author:

Craig Miller works with successful leaders and teams across the globe. He coaches and supports them in learning how to be more effective, expanding their comfort zones, and helping them create satisfying results and lives for themselves and those around them.

Craig spent 22 years as a corporate line executive, leading and managing sales teams for advertising and marketing companies. His track record of success spans a number of continents (namely North America, Europe, and South America). The breadth of his background means he quickly grasps the key issues in the client’s environment and relates it to broad business experience and current best practices.

As an American who has lived in Spain for 28 years, he brings a deeper understanding of what it means to live and work outside of one’s home country. Craig focuses on helping teams and senior leaders develop new practices, which are directly relevant and aligned with the results they promise to produce.

Craig is also the author of the book It’s Up To You – Learn Ten Powerful Leadership Practices, with a foreword by Bob Dunham.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Craig lives in Madrid with his wife and their youngest teenage son. Their two older sons are both students in Los Angeles.

Contact Craig at: cmiller@craig-miller.com