Being a manager is not the same as being a leader. A manager is in place to maintain order, make sure the team performs the minimum required level, and to meet customer expectations. While a leader is in place to drive change, exceed customer expectations, and to help teams reach new heights.
You might think these differences are purely semantics, but a growing body of knowledge is pointing to the need for managers to become leaders or risk becoming obsolete. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to stop being a manager and start being a leader.
It doesn’t matter if you oversee hundreds as a professional “manager” in a Fortune 500 company or you are running your own small business, these tips will help you to grow and for your teams to do more than they ever thought would be possible.
- Don’t Look at the Results, Look at How You Got There
Yes, most of us are paid by the results we achieve. For example, if you are in sales, your commission will be directly tied to how much you sell. However, it would be wrong to only look at the results and think that everything under the surface is the way it is supposed to be.
As a leader you want to dive into the processes, find out what drives them and then work with your team to improve efficiencies. In doing so, you will also look for a way to better serve your customers and probably even make more money.
This approach is inherently different to management by the numbers, which is backward looking. Instead, you are looking ahead, challenging your team to make things better, and importantly, giving the support they need to make it happen.
For example, if you are running a medical practice then this might include a productivity solution such as Reed Group MD Guidelines as it will help you and your team to focus on better outcomes and improved patient experiences. These tools will not only help the team to get the job done but it will give you the insight needed to get behind the numbers and affect real change.
- Go the Extra Mile
There is a saying in government circles about the low bidder getting the job. While this might make sense when it comes to public contracts worth billions, the mindset of good enough goes hand-in-hand with managing and not leading.
As you have seen, leaders set ambitious goals. Think about it, Alexander the Great would have never gone from ancient Macedonia to India if he did not set ambitious targets for his armies. Sure, the constant winning helped but it takes leadership to get thousands to march that far from home.
Ok, you might not be planning to take on the Persian Empire or to face elephants in battle, but when it comes building your business you need to employ the same characteristics. Remember leadership is about getting your team to do more and this can only happen when they see that you are willing to go the extra mile.
- Leaders Embrace Diversity
While diversity might be a word that gets bandied around these days, there is tremendous value in building teams which can openly share their experience and viewpoints on what is happening. This starts by having the courage to listen to everyone on the team no matter – even if you don’t agree with them.
Often this is easier said than done. This is especially true when you have deep knowledge in a particular area. But the reality is that we are living in an age of disruption and as such, the ability to pull from the individual experiences of your team members might help find a way to disrupt your market.
As such, learn to embrace diversity. Not the diversity which only looks at physical characteristics but one which welcomes a difference of opinion while recognizing that once a decision is made that everyone falls behind it.
- Leaders Demand Accountability
It might be generational, or it might be cultural, but there has been a definite loss of accountability in our society. This can be seen in organizations large and small, as it is often difficult to find the person who is willing to make a decision and take account for the results.
Don’t let this happen to your team, instead start demanding accountability – first from yourself and then from everyone around you. Only in this way can you get your team to set ambitious goals and then see them through.
Just remember that mistakes do happen and there are times when you do everything right but still can’t reach the target. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be held accountable. After all, accountability isn’t about punishment;instead,it’s about owning up to what went wrong and then working to fix it. Only in this way can you go from being a manager to a leader.