Managing and leading are different things, but they are so close together that it’s hard to tell the difference. You might think that managers are just leaders with less responsibility, but it turns out there’s a lot more to it than that. As a manager, you are in charge of tasks, creating schedules, a certain number of people, and checking on the work progress. And as a leader, you set the direction for the people and take responsibility for the team’s results. It is essential to know when you’re doing one or the other because if you get confused it can be hard not only for your team but also for yourself. So, it’s your responsibility to manage and lead the team.
How do you know if you’re leading and managing the team right?
Not everybody can tell which is what, but as a good manager, you should lead your team even if you cannot tell the difference between leading and managing a team.
However, many people are in charge of managing teams without knowing how to do it nor enough training. Managers may be good at their tasks but don’t know what it takes to lead a group of people.
When leading as a manager, you’ll be successful as a leader. In other words, having good leadership skills is an advantage for getting more done with less stress.
For one thing, if you learn to lead others effectively, and then you’ll accomplish many things while not frustrating your team members in the process. In other words, leading as a manager is the only way that can help you get the best out of yourself and your team.
So, how do you learn leading as a manager?
Here are 20 ways how to learn leading as a manager:
1. Be a Good Listener
Good managers actively listen to what their employees say. Leading others well requires you to constant communication and active listening without judging or getting distracted.
Remember that everyone in your team has an opinion and possible solutions to team challenges. So, listen to everyone because they all can add value to the company.
2. Encourage Personal Growth
When things with people do not go according to plan, good managers ask themselves: Did I give my team members the resources and opportunities they need to succeed?
Many times performance problems can be solved by simple training, coaching, or mentoring.
3. Establish good Relationships
When you are leading others, it is easier to establish relationships and maintain your reputation when you focus on one team member at a time.
So, allocate time and spend it connecting and talking with each member to know them not only on a professional level but also on a personal one.
Building good relationships with your employees needs a bit of work, but all your effort will pay off in the end.
Learn more about your employees and always ask them how you can support them to succeed professionally and personally. Be mindful of their wellbeing, their culture, and even their personal lives.
Find out what makes them tick and why they do things the way they do them. Good work relationships make employees feel happy and passionate about their work and willing to do whatever task you assign them.
4. Coach Employees Regularly
Good managers understand the importance of coaching employees. You cannot be a good manager unless you know how to coach your employees.
Employees are the ones on the frontline, so they must be well equipped with knowledge, skills, motivation, and the right experience to do their work diligently.
So, they need regular coaching to deliver the company goal. Leaders are good at coaching others.
They understand the importance of leading a capable team that can produce maximum results.
5. Leading by Example
A good manager work alongside team members whenever it is necessary instead of directing from the office.
Being an example makes great leaders because they do it first before asking their team to do the same.
6. Set a Standard of Excellence
No doubt setting a standard of excellence in everything you do will turn you into an exceptional manager. Now, it is not just about having standards people don’t follow.
Set standards with your people in mind and a plan they can understand and embrace. It’s all about creating the systems and approaches that will allow everyone to follow and succeed together as a team.
7. Show your Appreciation
Leading as a manager requires you to support their purpose and goals and the methods they use to achieve them.
To show that you value your employee’s contribution, take time out from time to time to show your appreciation for their hard work. Praise them privately and in public for their better performances.
Don’t reward them only when they deliver excellent results but also when they put in the effort but fail — that will motivate them to continue delivering excellence. Remember to appear genuine whenever appreciating your employees.
8. Honor your Commitments
Once the company has decided how something should work, stick with it or change it only if necessary. Follow through on whatever commitments you make to your team members and the company.
As a committed manager, you are an example to your team members to emulate your contribution, commitment, dedication, influence, and ability as a leader.
9. Be aware of Employees Issues
Be alert to your team members’ feelings, especially in times when they need support.
Leading by influence requires one to be empathetic and compassionate towards your employees and colleagues.
Take notice of how your staff feels about work-related issues such as project assignments or new office developments.
Your awareness will encourage them to grow their skill sets, challenge themselves with new tasks and ultimately achieve higher productivity for the organization overall.
10. Emphasize the Positive
Be cautious not to focus only on issues and mistakes but also show your appreciation of your team members’ achievements.
You are an expert at finding solutions instead of negative situations for your team and strive to make it successful.
In other words, act positively and let others see how success should be achieved, copied, replicated, and followed without fail.
11. Give regular Performance Feedback
Every six months or so, sit down with each of your direct reports individually for a performance review or appraisal.
The feedback should include letting your employees know how they are doing and where they could improve.
Follow up by helping them improve, not just by making suggestions but also with actions for them to complete. And keep monitoring their progress.
12. Be Prepared for Anything
Leading as a manager requires you to be on alert all the time for any outcome. You should always be aware of what’s going on in your team and resolve any potential conflicts without prejudice.
Be balanced and open-minded when dealing with complex issues especially, those concern your employee conflicts.
13. Be Honest and Ethical
The more people trust you, the more respect they have for you as a leader. If you choose to act with integrity at all times, you will earn more respect.
Be a man of your word and ensure that you follow through on any commitment that you make.
Honesty is always the best policy when dealing with others — especially when it comes to leading as a manager.
The trust between you and your team members can only be strong by a leader being honest with them about everything.
Leading as a manager means that you are always truthful, regardless of competing challenges.
14. Deal with Problems Immediately
It is good to anticipate problems before they happen, but you need to deal with them quickly once they come up.
Being a proactive leader means identifying potential issues within the team and rectify them as soon as possible to prevent them from happening.
Ensure that you are open and honest about issues in the workplace as soon as they arise.
Being forthright about problems will allow your employees to open up to you and deal with all challenges in the workplace head on.
Read more: 12 Examples of Being a Leader at Work
15. Influence your Team to Success
One of the fundamental aspects of leadership is influencing people to take desired actions.
As a manager, you need to fulfill your responsibilities in a manner that pique your employee’s interests to their job.
If team members are passionate about what they see in your behavior, of course, they will respond positively and support you to success.
16. Take an Interest in your People
Be approachable and open for your employees to feel safe to chat with you about anything.
Your employees will notice that you have an interest in them. And you are willing to go a long way in nurturing their growth and build a strong bond between yourself and them.
17. Walk the Talk
Good leaders walk the talk. When you are doing something as a manager — walk the talk. Always act with integrity, honesty, and sincerity.
Never promise to do something if you can’t deliver on it. If you cannot meet deadlines, make sure you let your employees know about it in advance and plan accordingly — and they will respect you for always keeping them informed.
18. Be Flexible
Don’t be rigid with your actions and thinking. Show your employees the way they will follow. They are looking for role models, so be one of them. People react according to how you treat them.
Never reprimand your team members for trying something out of the rules, even when they make mistakes because creativity, innovations, and growth all begin with the anticipation of failure.
So, when your team members make honest mistakes, encourage them and be constructive.
Read also: 16 Examples of Taking Responsibility at Work
19 Manage from the Front
Managing from the front means you are not spending time hiding in your office. Be available but at a distance because you don’t want to constrict their autonomy to do their work.
Just do your part and set the pace from the front they will follow. Don’t forget to express your expectations with no ambiguity in what you say.
Be the first in, last out, and you must not let your employees doubt your dedication to the job and team. Leading from the front also means you lead by example.
20. Never Break your Own Rules
If you want your team to function well, every member has to be accountable for their actions. Those rules are in place to ensure that everybody is responsible for their behaviors.
The rules are not there for only team members. As their leader, you must also be accountable for your actions.
You should never be seen as above the rules just because you are the boss. Do not let your team down by breaking the rules you have established.
As you now know that being a manager and leading your team are two very different things. The difference is not always clear to many people because they work so closely together.
Managers need to understand the distinction between these roles to succeed at their job, especially if they want to grow within their company or move up into higher positions.
To be an effective manager, you should have the ability to look into the future and help people see things from your and their perspectives.
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