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  • Writer's pictureMark Hordes

How to make the leap from star employee to leader


Mark Hordes


Does this sound familiar?

“John is a manager at a global company with an exceptional record of outstanding technical performance across multiple projects. His performance reviews identify John as a “star technical performer” and he was recently promoted to the head of the company’s Operations with 225 direct reports.

“…. John is failing in his new role as a Leader. His recent performance review indicates John’s needs to more effective in managing his team, think strategically, coach others, manage change and improve his overall people skills.

John after six months in his new role he quickly realizes that his technical skills and prior accomplishments may not be all that he needs to help him accelerate successfully as a High-Performance Leader.

John’s Path Forward: Learning and Practicing his ABC's

Let us assume for a moment that your career target is to be promoted to a Leadership role. You have worked hard at your craft have great technical skills and you are perceived by your peers and supervisor to be at the top of your game. But as you step back, you know something is missing as you have seen others be promoted to leadership roles with limited success. You wonder why?

The answer lies in learning and practicing your ABC’s:

Figure 1.

Articulate the future – where are you taking us? People need a sense of predictability and insight into the future to be committed. For example: “I know you are all wondering how we accomplish all these tasks on such a brief time frame?” Let me share with you six examples of how it can accomplish if we work together.

Be the example – using personal stories make a powerful impression on others. For example: “Just like you I have been on projects where it felt like the odds were always stacked against us. When it was hard to get others to commit, resources constrained and the team we had to work with were always working against each other.” There were times when I wanted to give up! But we stuck with it, and here are the four things we learned in the process that helped us find the confidence and commitment to fight against all odds and win. Perhaps these ideas can help you as well.

Consider other’s needs, wants and expectations – People you are communicating with must see the value and impact from their own perspective. For example: “Thank you for sharing with me what your need, wants and expectations are. I appreciated your transparency and honesty in being open about how you feel about the challenges your team is experiencing. “Let us take each one of your ideas and brainstorm what can be done to decrease constraints and talk about which ones are within our zone of control to change.

What Else Can you Do?

Below is a list of topics that can help you in your Leadership Journey:

Topics and Skill you need to be successful

- Practical Communications: one on one and groups/teams

- Management of Change: assess impact of change and manage the process

- Create a High-Performance Team: self-managed to high performance

- Leadership Essentials: Knowledge to lead a organization, division, function and team

- Measure Results: balance scorecard to tracking to dashboard creations

- Foster Trust: Transparency to become a trusted advisor

- Learn how to flex your personal communications style that aligns with others.

- Learn the fundamentals of managing change.

- Understand what makes teams work and practice group dynamics to engages others.

- At the heart of a “High -Performance Leader” is the ability to understand and develop the right behaviors in others.

- Process, change, financial, strategic and customer metrics is the bottom-line of business reality.

- Trust building skills are essential in every aspect of a Leader’s life. Create the capability to know how to build trust with external and internal customers/clients, and once obtained can create relationships that last a lifetime.


No journey is ever completely free of obstacles and unforeseen circumstances, prepare yourself with the right positive mind set, interpersonal training and experiences, to enable you to step forward in becoming a successful high performing Leader.

Mark Hordes

Mark Hordes is the Managing Partner of Mark Hordes Management Consultants, LLC a Houston, Texas management consulting advisory. 713 416 1781 office phone

Mark has delivered Employee Performance Training all over the globe. He has been profiled in leading publications and journals. His most recent post in The Houston Chronicle

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