How do you become a great manager or a great leader? Are the two terms even the same?
Every organisation requires the services of great managers. The individual that is able to delegate tasks with grace and ease, exhibit the positive, can-do attitude together with the ability to motivate will definately be highly valued.
To begin, let me first clarify some differences that distingush between a manager and a leader. A leader provides vision as well as the motivational force to drive a project while a manager is in charge of managing and distributing resources, and juggling tasks essential for the success of the project.
Having said that, actually, the characteristics of both managers and leaders are actually quite similar; both in terms of their qualities as well their capabilities. They are not mutually exclusive to each other. A good manager can become a good leader, while a good leader must often perform managerial roles. Sometimes, a good manager must even be both.
So, what does it take to become a good manager? Here are five key traits that a good manager should possess. (Many of the traits discussed here involve better interpersonal communication skills which serves to highlight the importance of this blog)
1. You have to be comfortable dealing with people
As a manager, people form your greatest resource and your main task will be to utilise your resources to skilfully accomplish the shared task. As such, you have to be comfortable when dealing with people. Better interpersonal communication skills are essential for the job here.
Part of a manager’s role is the delegation of tasks. A good manager has to be skilled as well as comfortable in the delegation of tasks. He has to feel empathically and to carefully analyse the situation before making the correct task allocations.
Some tips on how to delegate more comfortably without arousing any resentment will be to perhaps ask questions before giving direct orders. This will make the task appear to be the employee’s idea, and the result will be that the employee might become more accommodating and perhaps even enthusiastic to perform to the task assigned.
2. A good manager motivates their employees to strive and achieve
A good manager is able to keep his or her employees motivated and this can be achieved through the magic of encouragement. A person rewarded for their work and contributions, similar to a trained animal, will be more motivated and further encouraged to repeat this same positive behaviour and internalise it into their systems. Everybody likes the positive reinforcement that encouragement brings, and the astute manager will be able to use this to his or her advantage.
3. Managers need to rally their employees around the shared goal of the company
When people work toward the shared goal of the company, they work towards a vision greater than themselves and everybody benefits as a result. Managers able to impart this shared vision with their employees increase the chances for success for their team. They may accomplish this by relating/linking personal benefits that the employee may enjoy together with the shared goals of the company.
4. A great manager empowers their employees
Great managers need to challenge their employees to take up responsibility. Great managers need to recognise that they cannot accomplish everything by themselves, and hence need to learn to share some of the responsibility with their employees. As leadership expert John Maxwell once said, “If someone else can do something 80% as well as you can, then let them do it.” A manager has to be able to share the responsibility and this can be accomplished by the principle of empowerment.
5. A great manager has a positive attitude
In business as well as in life itself, attitude is everything. A great manager carries a positive attitude in the things that he does and this rubs off on the employees over time. A great manager serves as a role model for his or her employees and this starts from having a great attitude.
Ultimately, a great manager is somebody who can make the sum of a team greater than a collection of individuals.