How to Be a Better Leader, Not Just a Manager

iStock_000042428966_Small-490974-editedNot all managers are great leaders. Some have the strengths to lead and rally employees while others are stronger when systematically executing plans. The key to being an effective manager is to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and use them accordingly.

Business thrives when there is a balance between these two personalities. While you may already (or may not) recognize yourself as a leader, you can use this leadership advice for managers to help you take the steps toward becoming a better leader that your team members will want to follow.

Communicate Effectively

Whether it’s speaking with employees about a job well done, explaining your expectations for their performance, or discussing improvements that can be made, a strong leader must be able to communicate with their employees in a way that accurately conveys their message and induces a productive response. Regardless of if you have information to share with the entire staff, just the sales team, or a single individual, communicating information and thoughts as a manager is a crucial step in becoming an effective leader.

Effective communication is also timely and doesn’t belittle or insult your staff. Delivering timely information means addressing an issue with your team when it happens and not waiting until the the third or fourth time to make your statement. As a leader, this illustrates to your staff that you’re taking an active role in their performance and shows them you want them to succeed.

Yelling and talking down to your staff are also ineffective ways of communication. When delivering information, as a leader, you need to communicate calmly and respectfully. Aside from being disrespectful, yelling at your staff can also be seen as a loss of control, which ultimately will create a low morale and a negative environment in the workplace.

Accept Feedback

Managers who are approachable put themselves in a position to not only receive feedback from their employees but also take the information given and make appropriate changes. By creating an atmosphere in which employees are comfortable offering suggestions regarding making procedures more efficient or addressing their concerns, you are allowing them to feel that their voice is being heard and their insight matters. Every employee has a unique perspective and you may find that you can use their feedback to learn how to be a better leader.

Entrepreneur has outlined four ways to get feedback from employees which provides suggestions that can be used to elicit responses that can be beneficial to you as a manager. Conversely, when you are unwilling to accept feedback, your employees may begin to feel like they are stuck dealing with inefficient procedures or uncomfortable situations. This can take a toll on employee morale and your unwillingness to be receptive may make your staff unwilling to respond to your feedback. You must lead by example and if you want your employees to be open to your suggestions, you must do the same.   

Show Your Appreciation

There few things that are more effective in boosting morale in a workplace than showing appreciation for a job well done. This can be accomplished on a number of levels and it doesn’t have to cost you a ton of — or any — money. Recognize a salesperson for closing a big sale or reward your marketing team for a successful campaign. If someone is contributing to your business, even in a small way, tell them. Statistics show that employees who feel appreciated are more willing to go the extra mile for their employer.

Create a Positive Environment

The atmosphere of a workplace is often created and controlled by those in management positions. Following the recommendations above can contribute greatly to a creating a positive work environment. Beyond communicating effectively, accepting feedback and showing appreciation for your employees, there are a couple of other things to keep in mind. If you are a high stress individual, it is more likely that you will bring that energy with you to the office. It is important that you develop strategies for yourself to minimize the effect you have on employees when you are stressed. Additionally, studies have shown that offering development opportunities is a great way to boost morale in the workplace. When employees feel their employer is willing to invest in their advancement, they will put forward the effort to move forward.

Developing the skills to be a leader takes time but with these leadership tips you can begin taking steps towards making a positive impact in your workplace and in how your employees view their involvement within the company. Whether you recognize yourself as a strong leader or know you have room to grow, every person can continue to improve their leadership skills. Taking the task seriously and investing your time into making changes will help both you and your company succeed.


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