The mindset shifts essential to go from team member to team leader

Developing effective frontline leaders takes more than just giving them a set of skills. They also need the right mindset to put those skills into practice and that mindset needs to be in place from day one in the role. 

A report from the American Society for Training & Development on “Frontline Leaders: developing tomorrow’s executives”, commented that organisations need to improve their development of emerging leaders as 

“unlike some roles where there may be an interim period of time to transition, going from an individual contributor to a frontline leader can literally happen overnight”

Their data indicates that frontline leaders have an impact on employee engagement, performance, retention and the ability of team members to transfer skills from the classroom to on the job. Developing emerging leaders is critically important to organisational success.

The transition from team member to team leader needs to start well before the role officially commences. When clients ask me when they should start offering development I say “the earlier the better”. Early development not only helps to prepare future leaders it also helps the organisation to identify those people who aren’t going to be suitable which can prevent a lot of pain and frustration for everyone.

Probably one of the most important goals in this preparation phase is to help them shift their thinking from team member to team leader. You want them to understand the four important mindset shifts they will need to make.

Me to we They need to stop thinking about how decisions affect them and think about how they impact their team

Input to output Their success is no longer measured simply by how much effort they put in but by what results their team achieve

Doing to deciding Their focus needs to move away from completing tasks to delegating tasks for others to complete

Responding to initiating They need to go beyond simply meeting the needs of more senior leaders and start making suggestions on what needs to be done


Your budding leaders need to start making these shifts before they become leaders. Make sure you include discussion of them in development programs and encourage other leaders to discuss them with potential leaders so they become part of how they think.

This is where a development program conducted over an extended period time can help. My 9 month Budding Leaders Team Program introduces people to these mindsets and others in a supportive and practical environment. To learn more about the benefits of the program visit

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