The ABCs of Leadership
There is a critical and substantial difference between managing to lead and managing to supervise. Managers who lead show others the way, while managers who supervise tend to direct and control. Leaders are individuals who motivate and inspire the individuals around them, whether they are coworkers or employees.
People often believe that “leaders are born not made,” but this is far from the truth. Most people who have the desire and internal motivation can learn to incorporate effective leadership skills into their style of management. Doing this often includes making changes and alterations in mindsets and attitudes, without which many managers will never become the type of leaders others want to follow.
Individuals who fall into the category of traditional supervising managers find themselves generally directing and controlling the people under them. They tend to be rigid in their thinking, ineffective and unproductive when compared to managers who are also leaders.
Managers as leaders are excellent motivators. They are more productive because they are able to tap into individuals as key organizational resources and rely on their cooperative efforts and results to get things accomplished effectively and efficiently. They ultimately assume cheerleader roles to inspire employees to greater heights of achievement. Most managers are surprised by how much more their departments and units are able to accomplish when they are effectively led.
If managers wish to achieve higher levels of results, they must learn to delegate various responsibilities to their employees and motivate them, rather than simply use control management methods. Due to higher expectation levels, results then tend to increase.
Managers as leaders make certain that employees become empowered to accomplish more through greater levels of autonomy and responsibility. Most importantly, this change allows managers more time to concentrate on the important strategic issues affecting their entire department rather than focusing on daily tactical issues that can just as easily be delegated to individual employees.
Managers who lead are motivated by their own personal vision of what is possible to achieve. They are always focused on the accomplishment of major long-term goals. These goals provide them with deeply held convictions of what they desire to attain and how to go about achieving it.
Their personal determination and perseverance are what attracts others to their vision and motivates them to not only believe in them, but also to embrace their attainment. Traditional managers, on the other hand, do not generally have these convictions or a vision for the future due to their having chosen to operate in a more reactive rather than proactive manner.
Managers as leaders inspire the active participation of individual employees by communicating their vision in a clear and convincing manner. Everything they say and do effuses passion and enthusiasm, which become contagious. Managers who lead are able to easily articulate their message and frequently “talk up” their personal vision. They work to create mental images of their vision that employees can conceptually see and feel.
Managers as leaders tend to have positive self-images. This affirmative sense of self translates into confidence and a keen awareness of their personal capabilities. These managers tend to build and develop similar characteristics in their employees by delegating and effectively sharing their power and professional knowledge. This is in direct contrast to more traditional managers who generally tend to hoard power and information, feeling that any form of delegation undermines their power base and authority.
Many managers are results-oriented with a zero-tolerance for mistakes and failure. This results in employees hiding their failures for fear of possibly severe repercussions. They tend to cover errors and misjudgments by altering information or misleading managers regarding certain results or oversights. This is one of the leading causes of managers being blindsided by unforeseen events and circumstances.
Leading managers, on the other hand, view mistakes and failures as learning experiences. They understand that they and their employees cannot grow and stretch their abilities without making mistakes and failing. They consistently encourage employees to implement new ideas, concepts and approaches and stretch their individual capabilities in order to learn from mistakes.
This often produces more results-driven atmospheres than those seen through strictly supervisory management styles and practices. It enables leaders and their departments or units to react faster to evolving conditions and even anticipate certain changes before they produce negative impacts.
Managers who lead their people build trust and rapport through various mutual learning experiences, which are generally accompanied by trial-and-error approaches and outcomes. They are quick to listen and observe throughout the process, with one of their most positive attributes being their ability to offer appropriate feedback in non-threatening ways.
Excerpt: Leadership: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series by Timothy Bednarz (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011)
Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
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