How Great Managers Lead


I was recently conducting a leadership training for one of my clients and one of the participants asked me what the difference was between management and leadership. I told him that I tend to buy into the theory that management is about getting results through processes, and leadership is about getting results through people. Effective management is needed to implement the goals and vision of the leader, whereas a leader without good management skills will soon run out of steam, but a manager with no leadership skills lacks direction. Whatever your belief is on the subject, one thing is for sure, managers must exhibit the qualities of leadership if they are going to be successful.

Having spent the majority of my career (15+ years) in management, and now for the past 5 years as a corporate trainer and executive coach, I have found that there are several key things that all great managers do to lead their team to success.

Great mangers lead by:

  • Casting a clear and compelling vision – As the saying goes, “Without a vision the people will perish”. As managers our ability to communicate that vision in a clear and compelling way will determine the level of buy-in we get from our people. With clarity comes certainty, which is produces the highest level of productivity. When your team can connect your vision with their goals, they will be “all in” and give you their very best effort.

  • Communicating realistic expectations – It has been my experience that frustration is a result of unmet expectations. By communicating realistic expectations with your people, you eliminate the opportunity for interpretation. As a manager, let your people know what you expect from them and you will find that they typically perform up to that level of expectation.

  • Compiling a road map for success – In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C Maxwell writes about the “Law of Navigation”. John says that great leaders are the ones who chart the course for their teams. People will follow someone who knows where they are going. When you have a game plan for success, your people will commit to taking that journey with you.

  • Commanding results – Bernard Montgomery said, “No leader, however great, can long continue unless he wins victories”. As managers, we are paid to produce results. We must set the performance standards within our organizations to ensure that results are a priority. I would venture to guess that without producing results for a period of time, you would lose your opportunity to lead.

  • Consistently giving feedback on performance – I was reading an article recently on millennials in the workplace. This article pointed out that one of the most important things for this age group of employee was consistent feedback. I believe that feedback is important for any employee. As a manager, make sure that you are taking the time to get with your people to give feedback on their performance and where their opportunity for improvement lies.

  • Creating growth opportunities for their people – A recent study by the Dale Carnegie institute revealed that nearly 85% of employees are disengaged at the workplace. (WOW!) Hope is a powerful thing. When the people on your team feel like there is opportunities to grow both personally and professionally, they are more likely to be engaged in their work. As a manger, creating opportunities for your people to grow is the ultimate challenge.

I believe that managing people is the ultimate leadership test. Although we may create process’s that will produce results, it is the leading of our teams that will ultimately determine our level of success!

I would like to hear from you. What are some ways that you lead as a manager?

To Your Success,

#leadership #management #success

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