There is a difference between being a manager and being a leader. Managers begrudgingly carry out the duties of their job, either doing the minimum or trying to micromanage their employees into a corner. Leaders, on the other hand, put the needs of their team and the company first, always working for the good of both.
Despite the importance of leadership development, too few companies invest in it. In fact, 63% of millennials feel there is a lack of leadership development.1 This is disturbing considering that millennials make up an enormous sector of the current and future workforce.
In many cases, managers fail to achieve true leadership status not from a lack of good intentions, but rather, a lack of knowledge. They have never been taught the tools to lead a team effectively. Following the ten behaviors below will help ensure you become a successful leader.
- Listen Attentively and Often
One of the biggest mistakes that managers can make is assuming their voice is the only one that matters. Talking too much and listening too little can result in serious blind spots that cause mangers to miss inefficiencies and red flags. Make sure you always put your listening ears on when employees talk to you about:
- Internal conflicts with their teammates
- Struggles they are experiencing with their job
- Issues they are having with delivering client satisfaction
- Ask Plenty of Questions
No one has all of the answers – not even the best leader in the world. Managers can always learn from their employees. You might find yourself surprised by the insight and information they can give you. Resist the urge to let your ego get the best of you; your employees will respect you for seeking their knowledge.
- Retain a Crystal-Clear Vision and Expectations
If your team does not know exactly which goals you want them to accomplish and how to go about doing it, they will be ill prepared to succeed. Map out a clear plan with actionable steps to give lead employees in the right direction.
- Never Stop Evolving
It is easy to feel like you have arrived and become complacent when you hold a management position. But if you stop learning and evolving, you risk being left behind as your colleagues or employees progress. Embrace the fact that we were designed for change and that it will only improve your performance and, by default, your team’s performance too.
- Trust Your Gut to Make Decisions…
The power of intuition – the innate “inner voice” that offers guidance – is all too often dismissed in the business world as being New Age fluff. Instead of ignoring it, you should rely on it as an unbiased source of solid information free of external pressures.
- …Except When It Comes to Hiring Employees
You should always have an organized hiring process in place. It is all too easy to hire someone because you “click” with them or because they remind you of someone else. When you establish and take a disciplined approach, you have an equalizing force in all of your hiring initiatives. So instead of using the “click” method use the “check” method. Check to ensure that a new hire fits your team’s personality as well as your corporate culture. Check out the qualities that are needed or complement or provide opportunities for your team and/or organization. Check how candidates handle conflict and/or problem solving. These are just a few that should be part of your checklist (or disciplined) approach in hiring.
- Avoid Overloading Your Team
Overloading employees with initiatives not only creates burnout, but it also shatters their focus. It is far better to focus on a few top priority initiatives at one time. This way, they can pour all of their effort into these goals and really knock it out of the park.
- Always Put the Team First
Work is not the time nor place to allow your personal ego to dictate your actions and decisions. While leaders are given a certain measure of power, they do not abuse it. Instead, they use it to serve the higher good of their team and organization.
- Connect with the Person Behind the Employee
At the end of the day, even though you have a professional relationship with them, your employees are still people. Treating them like a means to an end instead of human beings with feelings will breed a mutual disrespect that can cause a host of problems. Show your team respect and they will respond in kind.
- Maintain Your Integrity
You may not think it is a big deal if you lose your sense of integrity at work, but in fact, doing so can put your leadership position in serious jeopardy. No one will follow you if you lack integrity – and a manager without the support of their team is not considered a leader. Ultimately, the difference between being a manager and being a true leader boils down to adhering to a few critical standards that include dedication to the overall good of the company, a sense of integrity and a commitment to listening carefully to your employees. If you adopt these behaviors as part of your managerial approach, you will be well on your way to becoming a great leader.
For more information about how Gavel International can help your organization through outsourced meeting planning, event and travel incentive programs, contact us.
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