The words "manager" and "leader" are often used interchangeably. But there's a difference in these two roles, as well as the workplace environments they create and the results they elicit. In today's blog post I will talk about the 10 defining leadership qualities that separate a leader from a manager.
Put these best practices to use to increase the effectiveness of your management style and see positive results in your workplace and employees:
1. Communicate effectively with different generations. The way you communicate with a senior staff member who's been with the company for 35 years will be different than the way to communicate with the recent college grad that was just hired. Managers use the same communication style with the expectation that everyone will understand. Conversely, a leader understands that many factors affect communication and adjusts accordingly. As a result, the number of miscommunications and misunderstandings in the workplace are greatly reduced or eliminated.
2. Understand and speak to various work styles. Some people are creative thinkers, some possess critical thinking skills and others are more analytical or cautious in their approach. Leaders possess the ability to understand different styles and ways of approaching a project or challenge. He or she can "speak the language" of these different styles and make employees feel that they're being heard.
3. Get employees invested and enthusiastic about your vision. There's strength in numbers, particularly when your entire team is as enthusiastic and invested in your vision as you are. A true leader conveys his or her vision in a way that makes it clear to employees. Additionally, the enthusiasm for and belief in that vision is infectious and elicits a feeling of ownership throughout the team.
4. Lead by example (or get your hands dirty). A manager delegates assignments, oversees the flow of production and keeps employees on-task. As a leader, you're willing to get in there and work alongside your employees. Rather than always telling your team what to do, you show them while leading by example.
5. Empower employees to create/add value. Employees who feel they play an important role in the process are likely to be more productive and enthusiastic. Empower your team members to take initiative and think creatively. Do this by asking for ideas and solutions, and by implementing them as often as possible.
6. Inspire those within your management group and beyond. Employing these best practices consistently will build trust and encourage employees to strive toward goals and communicate openly with you and within the team. It's possible that workers from outside your team may also come to you for advice or with ideas due to your reputation as a trusted leader.
7. Foster cohesiveness within your team. Set the example for trust within your team by openly demonstrating and verbalizing your trust in team members and groups. Use team-building opportunities, such as workshops or seminars, to help foster a community spirit.
8. Encourage and facilitate growth opportunities. Growth opportunities are vital to leaders and employees so they can avoid becoming stagnant. Incorporate annual or semi-annual workshops into your schedule, and provide individual employees with appropriate growth opportunities.
9. Takes note of the individuals within the team. As you build a strong community atmosphere it's important to not lose sight of the individual people on your team. Each employee has his or her own strengths, challenges, career goals and personal issues. These all play into their role in the workplace.
10. Possess the courage to take smart risks. A leader takes smart risks to achieve personal and company-wide goals. This important quality will result in more opportunities for your team, and they'll appreciate your smart business sense.