Hello, dedicated leaders and welcome back to our weekly journey through the world of leadership!
This week, we embark on a further exploration of the 6 M’s Framework, shining a spotlight on the pivotal first “M” – Managing Self. In particular, in this blog, we delve into the critical aspect of showcasing expertise in your domain as a leader, a skill that can truly set you apart in the ever-evolving landscape of leadership.

UNDERSTANDING THE 6 M’S FRAMEWORK

The 6 M’s Framework serves as a compass for leaders, guiding them through the multifaceted aspects of effective leadership.
The 6 M’s Framework includes your different roles and what you will actually be doing in those roles. As a leader, you will need to tackle each of these roles:
  1. Managing Self (as SME)
  2. Managing Individuals (as Coach)
  3. Managing the Work (as Manager)
  4. Managing the Comms (as Change Agent)
  5. Managing the Teams (as Motivator)
  6. Managing Public Opinion (as Ambassador)
Managing Self, is the first “M,” which emphasizes the importance of integrity, leadership presence, self-awareness & regulation, and finally showcasing expertise in your chosen domain, or field and as a manager if you manage others.

UNDERSTANDING EXPERTISE

At its essence, expertise is the culmination of knowledge, experience, and skills in a particular field. It’s the proficiency that sets individuals apart as authorities in their domain. For leaders, possessing expertise goes beyond a mere qualification; it’s about demonstrating a profound understanding that inspires confidence, performance and fosters growth.

EXPERTISE IN DOMAIN: A CORNERSTONE OF LEADERSHIP

Leadership is not just about guiding a team; you might, or might not have a team. It’s also about possessing a deep understanding of the industry, market trends, and the nuances of your specific domain, or business. To effectively lead, you must be an expert in your chosen field, staying ahead of the curve and inspiring confidence through your knowledge. So how does one do that?
Stay Informed: Continuous learning is the key to staying ahead. Dedicate time each week to stay updated on industry trends, technological advancements, and relevant research. Read industry publications, attend conferences, and engage in professional development to sharpen your skills. Talk to others in your chosen field by networking and sharing information. Do market and customer analysis if appropriate and stay across the problems and opportunities identified. Your strategies should be built off those. Read publications from the CSIRO, CIA Factbook, INSEAD and many other sources to stay across community megatrends, demographics and business research so that you can leverage them in your work or in your business.
Build a Network or get a Mentor: Surround yourself with experts and thought leaders in your domain. Actively seek out mentorship opportunities and engage in conversations that challenge your perspectives. Step out of your own perception; that is a trap. Take purposeful steps to grow your network. Take steps to get close to and learn from select individuals & mentors that are already where you want to be. You can consider this part of your “reference group” and the premise of a reference group is that you are only as good as, or will succeed to the level of, your reference group. So the top 5 people you interact with regularly, dictates the success you will achieve. A strong network not only broadens your knowledge but also provides valuable insights and support. A strong reference group actually will determine your level of success. If you are the smartest person in the group, you need to change groups and find one that challenges you. This does not mean ditch your friends, but in business or career, take the time to cultivate a reference group that is aligned with your vision of where you want to be.
Specialize: Choose a domain to specialise in. Be deliberate about this. If you are a business owner, then it becomes a little easier as your business is your specialty. Although there will always be new things you will have to learn and wrangle with. As the business grows and you employ others, then those others will bring specialisation into the business. If you are in a career, such as product management, which is often a generalist role, then start to specialise in a domain, e.g., international, AI, data, VR, authentication, databases, etc. That specialisation will serve you in the long run and will only enhance your product management skills by adding expertise to your repertoire, which is another lever of influence you can now lean into; esp if you have not authority due to hierarchy in the organisation. If you are in a leadership position that is also a management position, consider that the skills of management are a specialised field in and of themselves, that you want to take a deeper dive on. You can’t be doing more of what you were doing as an individual contributor, but longer and harder. That my friend is micro management and no one enjoys that if they are well into their careers. Only appropriate use is when you have a new staff member and they need training into the organisational systems, or they are beginning their careers. No, instead you have to learn all the other roles I mentioned above, to be able to manager others well. It is not an easy job, but it is a satisfying job if done well.
Hands-On Experience: Apply your knowledge in practical settings at work or in your business. Gather data to see if it was actually successful or not, lean into testing and validation to ensure you are gathering data. Real-world experience enhances your expertise by providing context and depth to your theoretical understanding. Don’t shy away from challenges; embrace them as opportunities to grow.

SELF-AWARENESS AND SELF-REGULATION: THE FOUNDATION OF EXPERTISE

I go back to last weeks blog where I talk about self awareness & regulation. To showcase expertise effectively, you must first master the art of managing yourself through self-awareness and practicing self-regulation.
Self-Awareness: Understand your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Regularly reflect on your experiences and seek feedback from peers to gain insights into your leadership style. A self-aware leader is better equipped to leverage their strengths and address areas that may require growth. Lean into gathering many perspectives rather than relying on your own perception; this will mean you have a more robust worldview, decision, solution, outcome, etc if you do. It doesn’t matter if you are doing a vision, strategy and roadmap, OR if you are writing a business plan, or launching into a new market. The more diversity of thought, the more robust the outcome.
Self-Regulation: Emotions are an integral part of leadership, but regulating them is crucial. A leader who can manage their emotions effectively remains composed under pressure, making well-informed decisions. Develop strategies, such as mindfulness practices or breathing exercises, to enhance your self-regulation skills.
By doing this, you will be able to build strong relationships with others, that you can then leverage and rely on when you need to. Relationship building in business and career are important and you need to deliberately cultivate these for success. Plan them into your calendar and focus on building the relationship through simple human connection, find out about their passions, family, day to day and connect on those lines, then you can connect on the lines of business or visa versa.

BRINGING IT TOGETHER: EXPERTISE IN ACTION

Now, when your bring expertise in your domain, coupled with self-awareness and self-regulation, it allows you, as a leader to be able to:
  1. Lean into Informed Decision-Making: Your deep understanding of the domain enables you to make informed decisions based on a comprehensive analysis of the situation.
  2. Inspire Confidence: Team members are more likely to trust and follow a leader who demonstrates a strong grasp of the domain. Your expertise fosters confidence and instills a sense of security among your team.
  3. Build Adaptability: The fast-paced nature of many industries demands leaders who can adapt quickly. Your expertise allows you to navigate change with confidence and guide your team through uncertainty.
  4. Innovation and Adaptability: A leader’s expertise lays the foundation for innovation and adaptability. In a rapidly changing landscape, leaders equipped with deep knowledge can steer their teams through uncertainties and guide them toward new horizons.

CONTINUOUS GROWTH AND LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE

As you embark on this journey of mastering leadership, remember that showcasing expertise is a continuous process of growth and refinement. Stay curious, embrace challenges, and view setbacks as opportunities for learning. Join me next week as we explore the second “M” of the 6 M’s Framework: Managing Others. Until then, lead with expertise, self-awareness, and an unwavering commitment to your personal and professional development.