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How To Be A Leader, Not Just A Manager

December 22, 2015

Chess Game with Focus on the King

“Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.” – Professor Warren G. Bennis

You are ready to be a leader. So, first things first let’s start by dealing with the initial component of leadership, which also happens to be the most important part, and that is you. 

You are ready for an upgrade, and that does not mean  you should cast aside your own management operating system, no indeed, you should build upon it and make sure you do things with more sophistication from here on out.

So, where do you start?

1. You don’t know everything, so be comfortable with that

No one is expected to know everything, including you. Some people might think they know everything, but as a leader you have already figured out that to pursue this attitude is to bring great stress upon yourself. In business this presents itself as inefficiency. A leader will encourage his or her team members to develop and grow in their own areas of expertise because they know that this will make the best team.

2. Allow your brain to be ‘picked’

The upshot of point one is to communicate to your team that each of them must develop professionally. The point of this is to improve your team’s efficiency, and so it follows that you should be approachable, and that your team members should be able to ‘pick’ your brain if needs be.

3. Meanwhile in the margins…

A leader is concerned with the short and long term aspects of business efficiency, which is not always clear amidst the day to day processes. You should try to anticipate any potential issues that your team might face, and in doing so, clear the way so they are either not affected, or able to work around said issues. 

4. Foster a culture of success

Communicate to your team what is expected of them. Promoting a shared vision of success will encourage an ongoing environment where everyone can still feel part of the team. One such way to do this is to put team goals on posters in the workplace and reward the team whenever goals are achieved.

5. Encourage appropriate entrepreneurialism

You will communicate to each member of your team exactly what is expected of them. Set them challenging, and yet ultimately attainable goals that they can achieve via their own determination. This promotes them to take the initiative and allows a leader to take a step back in an advisory role rather than having to tell them how to do each and every thing. 

6. You are the captain of the ship

To guide your team through calm or choppy waters, you want as little resistance and as much assistance, as possible. So try to promote problem solving and ask timely questions, instead of threatening or intimidating your team since this will only contribute to the failing of tasks. 

For most, leadership is a tough task and so it should be; you worked hard to build up the skill set after all. So deal with yourself first, and understand that, as a leader, you will often need to take a step back and make a judgement call based on the short and longer term efficiency of your team and the business. 

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