One of the things that managers struggle with the most is leadership. But, how can this be? A manager is a leader. Not quite, a manager must become a leader. Management and leadership are not the same things. Management is the function of organizing, directing, controlling, and determining the work of others. You become a manager as soon as you receive a title. People follow you because they have to. Leadership, however, cannot be given to someone, they must earn it. A leader can only lead if there are those who are willing to follow. Therein lies the difference. As a leader, you gain power through influence, impact, and inspiration.
That is why you may find that the real leader at work is not the person with the title---people follow a team member. If the manager can get the buy-in of one or two key team members, others will go along. If not, she can almost guarantee things won't get done.
That's why it is imperative that you master leadership to become a more effective manager. Being able to lead your team, and having them want to be lead by you, will make your job of management easier. Here are six things that can help you must do to become a better leader.
Simplify, Focus, Prioritize
As a leader, you need to focus on the things that are most important; things that drive your bottom line---financial, personal, or otherwise. What really matters? What’s absolutely necessary for everything else to work. If you’re a manager in marketing that’s customers. But, how do you ensure that your customers are getting the most from your team, you focus on building up your team. If you give them what they need to get the work done, then they’ll take care of the customers.
The key is to keep things as simple. You don’t need to overcomplicate things for them to be meaningful. The simpler and easier it is to see and understand the better. An excellent way to do this is to practice five why analysis. This decision model is a great way to get to the root cause or real meaning of an issue. Don’t be afraid to set some time aside for thinking and brainstorming, if necessary, before you make a decision.
The clearer your directives and the more of them you successfully complete, the more impact you will have over your team. They’ll know they can trust you to be there to help them get the job done and that they can trust your decisions along the way.
Honesty Is Still the Best Policy
Second, honesty is an essential quality for effective leadership. This should go without saying, yet for many, it needs repeating. Great leaders are trustworthy. When people know that they can trust you, you will gain respect. As I said in the previous example, it is how you make an impact, but it’s also how you gain influence.
Once people trust that you can lead them to success, they will need to believe that you won’t lead them down the wrong path either. You should never do anything that could be considered unethical, illegal or underhanded. All of your decisions must be ethical. When customers, employees, and other stakeholders know you are looking out for their best interest, they will remain loyal to you. They will follow you without question. By developing a set of moral responsibilities for your employees, you can help ensure that the rules are followed.
Recognize the Greatness in Others
You must be able to spot talent and gifts in other people. Who is on your team is just as important as who is leading it. Being able to pick the right team is a testament to your leadership abilities. You will quickly learn that not only do your employees have different personality types, but they have different skill sets and forms of intelligence, too. Your job is to find ways to enhance their strengths and cultivate opportunities for them to shine in those areas.
Make sure your crew is diverse and offers a spectrum of qualities that complement each other. This can apply to both contracting people short-term or hiring someone full-time. Putting together a team where each person has the opportunity to add value and be seen as valuable will go a long way in boosting morale, fostering collaboration, and ultimately, increasing productivity. When they do well, reward them.
If It Isn't Measured It Doesn't Matter...Set Goals
Fourth, set goals for your department, each team member, and yourself—both within and without the company. Measure them, track them, and implement and execute them. In addition, take time to assess them regularly, realign and adjust as needed along the way. Develop a plan and communicate it. Leadership can happen anywhere; it is also something you do in every part of your life. So, get into the practice of practicing leadership throughout your life.
Leaders understand that the whole point of leadership is moving a group from one thing to the next; that is all a goal is. The process of moving oneself from one thing to the next. Thus, if you set goals at home, you should be able to set goals at work. How did you accomplish your home renovation? With a plan. How did you complete that new product launch? By creating milestones. How did you hire that new employee? By, creating a process and following it. It is the same system and procedure no matter where you apply it.
Therefore, when dealing with your team at work talk to them about what their individual contributions should be. Don't just set them up and let them disappear over the year. Have monthly meetings about the goals, and make sure that the whole team is accountable for accomplishing them.
Coupled with the goals, you must set high standards aimed at meeting your goals but make sure your goals are attainable. You are setting yourself up to be disappointed if the goals are too far out of reach.
Fifth, and on a more personal level, look for synergy whenever possible. Be clear about what your personal goals are; make sure to define your business goals clearly. There should always be alignment between them and overlap from time to time. You should work on both simultaneously. When you can't, people will see your lack of passion. As a leader, people will take their cue on how to behave from you. Whether they follow or not, setting an example is crucial. Moreover, to become a better leader personal development is integral.
The reason you must create this synergy for yourself as a leader is you will burn yourself out if what you do professionally does not match what you value personally. If you’re a creative, chances are you’re not thrilled by accounting and vice versa. If you need help, pick up my leadership bundle that will help you find your unique style and way of doing things.
If You Have Integrity, Nothing Else Matters
Lastly, integrity is one of the most essential qualities of effective leadership. This means you should be honest and attempt always to do what's right, even when you are out of the sight of others. If you're lacking integrity, it becomes quite difficult for others to have confidence in you. Leading with integrity will earn you the trust, loyalty, and respect of your team. That’s it; be consistent.
Ultimately, you will become a successful leader if you believe in yourself and work hard until you accomplish your goals. Don't let the mistakes that you are going to make, deter you or lead you in the wrong direction. Let your mistakes train you by learning from them. It is time to grow. Put this advice into practice, and you will definitely become a better leader.
Are you ready to step fully into your role as a leader? Sign up for this free class to learn the 10 roles you must play as a manager-leader. —>
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