As the finalists for our Rising Stars competition are announced, Blair McPherson considers what it means to be a leader in 2012
The new leaders
What it means to be a manager is changing fast. At one time, your professional expertise and years of experience would qualify you for a management role.
Once you had your foot on the management ladder, how far you climbed would depend on your ambition, experience and ability to make a good impression.
Now a different set of criteria apply.
The harsh financial climate is pushing organisations to be leaner which means: fewer managers, flatter management structures and broader spans of responsibility. The rising stars are the managers who are quick to recognise the implications of these changes.
Professional expertise is being replaced by managerial expertise.
What counts now is not whether your background is in housing, social care, finance, IT or HR but your ability to manage across a range of services.
As the size and range of responsibilities increases a different type of manger is required - a leader who takes responsibility but can live with the vulnerability of not knowing the detail.
Someone who can inspire those they manage, influence those they don’t and shape the thinking of their colleagues.
It really is not what you know, but who you know. By which I mean you are good at identifying those who have the skill, knowledge and enthusiasm to get the job done.
You will inevitably be judged against an ambitious set of performance indicators, be expected to deliver efficiencies and find new sources of income. Sometimes you will be able to deliver on these demanding expectations but inevitably you fail at some point. How you deal with these setbacks will determine how far you go. Rising stars need bounce-back-ability.
Remember every star who makes it to the top has been sacked at least once in their career.
Blair McPherson is author of Equipping managers for an uncertain future and UnLearning management both published by Russell House. You can follow Blair on Twitter @blairmcpherson1
See our Rising Stars page to find out about the finalists, and vote for your favourite