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Chrismon Nofsinger says there are four steps to becoming a great leader. However, most people only make it halfway.
In his new book, The Shift From One to Many: A Practical guide to Leadership, he states that leadership is about facilitating others’ output and giving them recognition. This book is a great way of defining leadership. It also explains how to be more effective at it.
It’s not about your appearance.
It’s not about you, whether you’re leading a project or a team of volunteers. This is why the title of the book is so important: it’s the journey to stop allowing it all to be about you and start to think about how you can impact others.
The 4 steps of Nofsinger’s journey include:
Me: Nofsinger writes that people with a Me focus know exactly what they should do. It is defined by using the word “I”, and not using other peoples’ names. These people are able to take ownership of their tasks and perform well. However, because they focus on their own contributions they don’t listen to others and don’t consider other perspectives. You probably know project team members or project managers who are like this.
Us: This stage is where leaders use “we” to communicate with their teams. This type of leadership is something that I believe many project managers possess, and if not, they should work to develop it. It is demonstrated through collaboration, recognition of the work of others, and by learning to delegate properly.
Letting go: The transition to full-time coaching. You identify the strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team. You are objective and assign work based on ability and skill. This is what I believe program managers should be doing. Trusting others to do their job is essential, as program managers cannot be involved in every detail of every project. The role of program manager is to provide direction and support others. You are no longer part of the team.
Transferring: This type of leadership involves sharing your secrets. This category includes portfolio, program, or project managers. It’s about being a guru in the office, sharing your knowledge with others but not in a way that is too patronizing or in which you are giving out unneeded advice. Nofsinger believes that 50% of your time should be spent developing others in order to reach this level.
Nofsinger states that only exceptional leaders make it through to Transferring. This is where you spend most of your time facilitating the outputs of others. Only 5% of people make it to Letting Go. If you’re setting expectations, holding people accountable, delegating, and forgetting your need for personal recognition, you’re doing well.
A quick read and a simple idea
The Shift from One to Many is a simple idea that can be explained in a few pages. The book is simple and provides examples that are both easy to understand, and immediately relevant.
It is free from unnecessary language and management talk in favor of simplicity of concept. It’s compact at 60 pages, making it a great commuter book. You can read it on your way to work, then take some of the principles and put them into practice when you get there.
Professionals continue to be interested in project leadership and it appears that it will remain a hot topic for project managers for the future. Project managers who have been involved in leading projects know how difficult this stuff can be. Any model that makes our lives easier must be good. Nofsinger’s “one to many” is a simple example.
He writes:
“The l