Good managers can and should try to become successful leaders. People are divided on whether managing and leading people should happen at the same time. After all, both require different sets of soft skills. But, the reality is that in business, you need to combine both.
Here in this post, we will discuss seven proven tips for managers to become successful leaders.
1. Embrace the Diversity in Talent
As a manager, you will come across people with different talents, aptitudes, and attitudes. Some people have a knack for problem-solving and others have great business acumen.
You will need to embrace the diversity in talent and steer the collective efforts of your team to drive improvement in key performance areas.
Managers need to value each person as an individual and not just a team member. This way, you can better understand how to deal with a person or what drives them.
2. Understand the Difference between Will and Skill
Gaps in ‘will’ and ‘skill’ are among the most common causes of poor performance in the workplace.
While a ‘skill gap’ can be closed through training, supervision, and support, a ‘will gap’ is tricky and cannot be closed so easily.
But, simply knowing the root cause of poor performance can set you on the right path.
You need to patiently observe people in your team in order to understand their underlying motivation, skill level, and temperament towards the work they do on a daily basis.
3. Make Expectations Clear For Everyone
Many employees leave their jobs or switch employers simply because they are frustrated due to unclear expectations.
To prevent high turnover costs, it’s important that managers set crystal-clear guidelines on what they expect from the employees.
Put simply, periodic review (monthly or quarterly) should not be a surprise for anyone.
You should regularly communicate with your team members on how they are performing. Regular performance updates and check-ins will help ensure that your team members remain motivated and on course.
Chances are that your team members will look up to you (as a leader) for advice on how they can complete a task better. On such occasions, you must rise to the occasion and provide them with necessary guidance, support, and motivation.
4. Delegate Tasks
Great leaders do not try to micromanage everything. They do not try to do all the work by themselves. They delegate tasks.
Assign tasks to your team members and give them the autonomy to complete tasks as per their skill level and experience. When your delegate tasks instead of micromanaging your subordinates, you are basically creating room for creativity.
Experienced managers become leaders by empowering others. Delegating tasks means that you trust your workers and their ability to achieve the desired outcomes.
This will help you avoid burnout and keep your employees motivated.
5. Be Hard on the Results, Not on the Person
There will be occasions when even high-performers in your team miss deadlines or fail to meet the set expectations with regards to the quality of work. You know it’s completely out of character for these people.
On such occasions, you need to be compassionate and empathetically try to understand why things went wrong.
Avoid jumping to the conclusions too quickly.
Managers with leadership qualities are hard on the results – no argument there. But, they are generally soft on the person.
6. Understand that Family Comes First
You might have observed that each time an employee has a family issue they need to attend to on an urgent basis, it becomes their priority number one. Chances are that you too act in the same manner.
Experienced managers know that family issues often have a direct impact on work performance. While you as a team leader are not expected to know what’s going on wrong in the life of a person, your behavior and concern can send out the message that you care about both about their personal and professional life.
Mere realization or knowledge that the ‘manager understands’ can be relieving; it can rid a person of unnecessary stress build-up while at work.
7. Gain Buy-in From Your Team Members
Sure, you ought to explain (in detail) what the team goals are and how everyone can put in their best efforts to achieve them.
But, you also need to gain buy-in from your team members if you really need them to put in their 100% efforts. This is something a good leader does often.
A leader not only charts out a path for everyone to follow but also explains ‘why’ all team members must do something in a certain way.
A task that can drag on for weeks can be completed within hours by a highly motivated team.
As a leader, you can make your team members feel you are taking them on an adventure. The best way to do that is to explain the ‘why’ and gain their buy-in.
Managers who emerge as good leaders are excellent communicators who have a clear vision of their goals and use people-centric approaches to achieve desired outcomes. They know how to manage their own time and how to get their team to do the same.
Lastly, remember that the ‘little things’ matter a lot. For instance, being compassionate when a team member is struggling with a family issue, offering advice when a team member is having hard time meeting targets, and observing holidays or special milestones go a long way in building rapport.
Simon Mikail is the one of the founders and head of operations at 405 Ads. Simon serves as an online marketing manager to businesses and agencies worldwide. His overall business and marketing experience has helped hundreds of business owners get their presence done right when it comes to today’s online world.