Sunday, August 26, 2018

Are you a Leader or a manager?

Answering this question is of vital importance if you desire to be successful. I agree that many can be successful to some extent without actually being an effective Leader but simply being a boss or a manager can actually hinder your growth as well as the growth of the people you supervise so let’s get into the discussion.

Many people desire to get titles of respect. Being a boss or a manager is the goal of many people but I’m not sure that most people desire those positions for the right reasons and end up suffering long term. What I mean is that if you’re simply desiring a promotion or a title for the recognition and money alone then chances are you’re not living up to your potential and you’re definitely not helping your employees reach theirs either. 

A manager, in most cases, simply manage. They are comfortable barking orders and pointing fingers. They seem to think they have finally “made it” and have no more desire to grow or improve. They like managing from the rear or from a chair in an office. They seem to be able to place blame instead of taking ownership. They want the title and recognition but many times don’t want the consequences when something goes wrong.

A Leader, however, leads from the front. They have characteristics that are honorable to some extent and often have people that want to imitate them. They won’t ask their people to do things that they won’t do or haven’t done. 

Those are just a few examples of what a Leader should look like so I want to offer a few more in a more comprehensive list.

Let’s look at the few that I’ve come up with that should be of no surprise to you.

1) Leadership begins with a desire to help others succeed. This one is the most basic and most important trait in my opinion. It’s the glue that holds all the rest of them together. If you understand this one then you can probably master the other traits as well.
So, where does one begin to do this and how is this accomplished. You will see the full picture at the very end of this post but the first way to help them be successful is to a)get to know your people. You have to know and understand what your employees goals and desires are. You have to be able to b)get them to understand that they need goals to strive for. In getting to know your people and their goals you need to be able to c)help them figure out how to reach those goals and why it’s important to take steps to get to their goals. If you get them to understand that they need goals and how to reach them then you should d)help them become results driven in order to be able to measure their small steps and successes in order to be able to track their wins. And in order to get the goals accomplished it is important to e)hold them accountable. Accountability is an important part of being and effective Leader to your people as well as for yourself.

2) You have to be able to Listen effectively and actually hear what they are saying. Often times we tend to act like we are listening when people are talking and aren’t actually hearing what’s being said. Maybe we aren’t interested in the topic or problem but to be an effective Leader you must be able to just Listen. Just be an ear for your employees to talk to. An effective Open Door can help this particular trait especially if they know that you’ll actually care to Listen to their ideas and concerns. You never know when your next great idea will come from an up and coming employee. Listening doesn’t cost anything but time so what would it hurt to just sit their and show interest in what they are saying. You can’t solve every problem or have a solution to every one of their concerns but sometimes they just want to feel like you’ll listen at the least.

3) You must know that Respect is earned and not warranted just because you have a “title” of importance. It’s often the case that when someone gets promoted that they let it go to their head. They think they’ve made it so they think that they should automatically get the respect but that simply isn’t the case. If anything, you should feel like you have to measure up to a higher level of respect in order to make sure you don’t have the “now I’ve made it” attitude. It’s about being humble and thankful for your new position and not letting it go to your head because, let’s face it, most people don’t what to be “bossed around”. They want to be Lead! 
Also, in order to be respected you must be a man or woman of your word and knowing how to talk to people effectively. If you say you’re going to do something then make sure you follow through with it. Not following through with what you say you’re going to do is a sure way to lose respect in a hurry. In turn you must learn and know how to talk to people in a way that shows them respect.
If you want respect then know that respect is earned!

4) Understand that you set the example! If you’ve been promoted then chances are that at some point you’ve shown some sort of exceptional service and level of job performance. If you can understand that you are the example that others must follow then you can probably make sure that you need to act and perform in a way that you won’t be ashamed of especially if you see others watching you and mimicking what you do and how you act. Think about how you want your children to be. Most likely they will grow up and act like you do since they are with you the most. Your employees tend to be the same way with the people that supervise them.

If you were paying attention as you read then you already know what all this means and possibly what I’m going to say next!

That’s right.... all this boils down to 2 simple words. If you want to be an effective and successful Leader long term then you must go into the position with a simple mindset. You must be Servant Minded! In other words... you must have the want to and desire to help people reach their potential. If you can do that and be an effective Leader then guess what?... you will be more successful too! If you can get them to the next level then, in turn, they can help you get to the next level! You want to make more money? Then help them make more money! If you can show them that you care about making them more successful then chances are they will care about making you and the company more successful! Everyone has to be on the same page in order to help everyone including the company reach their full potential. 

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