Moving from Individual Contributor to People Leader - Sarah Dodds-Brown

Point of View
3 min readJul 21, 2023


Part 4

Becoming a people leader is a transformative journey that evolves from being an individual collaborator. Embracing the art of collaboration is the initial step in this growth process, as it nurtures interpersonal skills and fosters an understanding of the power of collective effort. As an individual collaborator, one learns to appreciate diverse perspectives, leverage complementary strengths, and synchronize efforts towards shared objectives.

The transition from collaborator to people leader demands the development of additional dimensions of leadership. Effective communication becomes paramount as the responsibility shifts from contributing ideas to inspiring and guiding others. A people leader cultivates a culture of trust and openness, empowering team members to voice their opinions and contribute confidently. Moreover, they master the art of active listening, understanding that empathetic engagement strengthens bonds and fuels creativity within the group.

“The first rule in managing people is being able to delegate. Many of us have difficulty making the transition from Producer to Manager believing that we need to do everything ourselves for it to be done correctly. As the scope of one’s role increases and our responsibilities include the oversight and development of team members, this is not a sustainable or advisable approach. By NOT delegating we jeopardize the outcome of our work and limit the ability of others to contribute.

“Moving from being an individual collaborating with others to becoming a people leader involves a change in mindset. While before you were the primary executor of work in your area of responsibility working in parallel with colleagues, now you must guide your team, oversee their work and provide directional input.

“By mastering the art of asking the right questions at the right time, you will understand how your team members think through issues.

“You’ll determine the due diligence they conduct, the depth of their analysis and the questions they themselves ask. As a result, you can determine when you need to engage more deeply to bolster their efforts and when you need to redirect them.

“Identifying your team’s dynamics will make it easier for you to delegate. Remember, you need to give it up to keep moving up! As the leader, you are no longer a front-and-center doer, but rather working more from behind the scenes influencing and empowering others.

“You’ll need to shift your sense of accomplishment from receiving credit for individual work to the recognition of managing your team’s successes.

“Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” Become invested in the development of your team members. Be their advocate and teacher. And as they take on more responsibilities, you free yourself up for new learning opportunities.”

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Point of View

A point of view is the angle of considering things. It’s a platform for people with a vision and a story to tell.