Ten Things That Turn a Good Manager into a Great Leader
- Key Competencies to Success as a Manager and Leader
Many people in contemporary workplaces find themselves in positions of management responsibility with precious little formal training and experience. In another era, people would leave school to complete an apprenticeship. Then whilst working as a tradesperson, they would start studying business or engineering or management at night school. Concurrently they would be promoted into supervisory and junior management/leadership roles. Their organisations would conduct or send them on a series of training courses to support, enhance, and reinforce their technical and management skill acquisition.
Today, there’s not always time for this process. If you’re fortunate, your organisation will support your development to complement your career growth, or to refresh and renew if you are a seasoned professional. If not, you will hear comments such as, “You (they) are a manager and managers should manage”. You will be expected to have a number of pre-requisite ‘soft-skills’ and the Wisdom of Solomon to manage and develop people, to mediate, counsel, hire, and fire. In addition, you will be held accountable for the performance of your staff along with their engagement and work satisfaction.
Here are 10 things that turn a good manager into a great leader. These tips can be especially useful if you lack formal training and experience.
1. Transparency – Do not pretend you have experience that you do not. Your team will respect the fact that you’re learning management skills if you are open and transparent.
2. Consistency – Be consistent in how you deal with people. Strive to make balanced decisions and support your staff equally.
3. Thoroughness – Work hard and set high standards, regarding both behaviour and work output. Show people you are willing and able to go the extra mile and to take the time to do a good job. Lead by example – engage in “do as I do”, not “do as I say”. Ensure you are fulfilling your role as leader instead of competing with your team.
4. People-orientation – Believe in people. Most employees want to do a great job and they want to be recognised for it. Take a risk, if necessary, and trust your team to get their bit done. Make it easy for team members to ask for help. Set and expect high performance standards, and people will deliver.
5. Knowledge – Remember, it’s fine, even desirable if team members are knowledge experts above and beyond your capability. A good manager leads, a great leader inspires and supports.
6. Humility – Try not to compete with your team. If you are the knowledge expert in particular areas, be humble, and be generous in sharing your knowledge.
7. Capability – Seek to raise the capability of each team member to raise the capability of the team as a whole. Focus on what people are good at and assist them to be the best they can be. Develop competencies to cover skill gaps where needed for current and future roles.
8. Respect – Respect is not exclusive to accountability or responsibility. If you need to improve a person’s performance, always be respectful and offer appropriate development and support. Motivation is not borne of disrespectful behaviours. As a manager and leader, you are a role model in every situation.
9. Passion – Show your passion for the tasks that you enjoy most. Inspire your team to be passionate about their work and the competencies they bring.
10. Can do attitude – Lead by example and don’t let anything get in the way of your team delivering their highest performance. Your ‘can do’ is to remove barriers and obstacles and to provide resources, recognition, and reward.
One extra prompt – Start a performance conversation. Ensure you have documented objectives and key performance indicators that reflect the department and business goals. Measure and discuss progress formally, at least once per month. Keep a log of the conversation and intervene collaboratively and promptly. Be open to constructive criticism and ensure you obtain the resources you and your team need to be successful.
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