The Business World Needs Leaders, Not Managers

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In today’s business world, the traditional “manager” is becoming a more uncommon way of overseeing a company. It is well known that people want to work for leaders, not grumpy old managers that don’t care about much. In all reality, if your company’s top management team operates as an organization of leaders working alongside their employees; then your chances of success are far greater. In this article, I will explore the simple, yet necessary traits a “manager” in a company needs to posses to be thought of as a leader.

What Employees Can See

For everyone in the company to “buy in”, they need to see top management lead. Although there may be many possible ways that a manager can show that they are a leader, I am going to select the top six ways and discuss why.

The top six characteristics of a manager acting as a leader discussed are:

  • Approachable
  • Supportive
  • Available
  • Holding Staff Accountable
  • Involvement
  • Share of Authority

Approachable:

This means that they are friendly, and staff can come to them when they need assistance. The manager that is closed off and everyone is afraid of creates more internal problems than you can even imagine. You will see a decrease in productivity and efficiency as well as division between personnel in the company.

Supportive:   

Managers that lead are always supportive and always put their staff before them. This is part of the leadership style is called servant leadership. Servant leaders will always take the time to provide help when needed, see how their staff is doing on a business and personal level, and make it their duty to mentor. Overall, this type of leadership is what most employees prefer. With the right kind of management support, employees can bring their professional work to the next level.

Availability:

Neither of the previous two characteristics matter if management does not have good availability and time flexibility. Great managers should not be too busy to spend time with the staff helping them work towards the common goal or task at hand. If there is no availability, then there is no time for support to be given and staffers don’t even need to worry about approaching a manager. Therefore, a manager that wants to be a leader must make it a priority to be available and flexible with their time for their employees and company to grow and succeed.

Holding Staff Accountable:

Accountability is necessary on both fronts. Managers need to be held accountable as well as knowing the right ways to hold their staff accountable. Great managers give projects reasonable deadlines and time budgets. This increases efficiency in the company while holding staff accountable for getting work done. It is also very important that managers have some type of review process to make sure work is getting done the right way and on time. But what if it is not done correctly or on time? A good leader has the responsibility to recognize whether their staff is struggling to keep up with the deadline and being involved in the development.

Involvement:

It is important that managers use the correct amount of involvement when working with their staff. Too little can cause confusion and stress while too much can result in minimal employee growth. Managers cannot just delegate every project on their plate to their staff, but it is crucial that they spread the list evenly. From there, they can help as needed without doing all or none of the work.

Share of Authority:

Another aspect of servant leadership is the sharing of authority. Just because top management is “in charge,” does not mean that they should make every decision by themselves like a dictatorship. Ultimately, they make the final decisions but should always consider everyone’s input before making that decision. Collective decision making will make it certain that the entire team is on the same page.

What Employees will Hear

Leaders tend to use their voice to teach and guide rather than demand and yell. This is a huge difference between a manager and a leader. Not only does this style allow for more effective work, but it also gives employees something to learn and feel comfortable doing.

  • A good leader will always try and share their past experiences whether they are good or bad. This can help prevent employees from either making the same mistakes they have or give them some direction towards success.
  • When someone does make a misstep, it is very important that top management makes every effort to turn it into a teaching moment. Mistakes are meant to be used as a learning tool, not an excuse for a grumpy old manager to scream and yell.
  • I know for a fact that if I’m getting yelled at, I am not learning from my mistake; I am just doing everything possible to avoid being in the same situation I was in before.
  • Lastly, a manager that leads needs to obviously have effective communication skills. Staying on the same page, delegating roles, and giving praise to a god well done. This helps work get done more efficiently and effectively.

How the Company will Benefit

When top management is composed of leaders and everyone is working towards a common goal, employees and the company gain a tremendous advantage. With management being leaders, it allows for personal and business development, collaboration, innovation, and increased success. It also allows for staff to want to come to work every day instead of dreading it. If your company has mangers that aren’t leaders, you need to consider making a change in personnel for the position.

Attracting the Best Talent out of Colleges

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Twice a year, students are coming out of college looking for a job that’s right for them. In today’s day and age, this group of people are looking for a wide variety of perks. A company’s ability to offer these perks can significantly impact a potential new hire’s decision to come on board.

Most Attractive Offerings

What your company can offer to their employees can either attract new ones or push them away. The most attractive offerings to graduating students in this generation are compensation plans, opportunities for advancement, and technology.

Compensation Plans

When most people think of compensation, they just think of how much money is going to be paid. This is a common misconception that most people entering the workforce now struggle understanding. It is important that companies demonstrate what they can offer in terms of what they can pay and what other plans they can provide. Those other plans need to include certain benefits including paid time off (PTO), health and other medical insurances, retirement plans, continuing education, etc. The more of these you can offer and present to this group of people, the more success you will have in hiring the best talent in your related field.

Opportunities for Advancement

People in this generation are also extremely interested in career development. As a company, you need to be able to provide opportunities for advancement. According to Forbes, 87% of millennials say that career development and job advancement are important to them when looking for a job. If your company is a flat organization where it is not growing or turning over positions, you need to seriously think about reorganizing to a structure that will.

Technology

In today’s world, technology is everything. Millennials are attached to technology and the more you can offer, the better. Technology you need to offer includes updated computers and monitors, presentation screens, and phones. Technology that is icing on the cake includes tablets, iPads, and work cell phones.

Important Factors

Work-Life Balance

A balance between work and outside life is important for any employee. In order to attract the best talent coming out of college, employers need to offer flexible hours, holidays off, and vacation days. “Flexible hours” means the ability to come to work late or leave early for a valid reason and make up the time in another day. This allows employees to be able to do things in their life that need to be done during the week without any problems.

Social Interactions

  • Many people entering the workforce for the first time need positive social interactions in the workplace. It is a must that coworkers are friendly, engaging, and collaborative. This eliminates those nervous feelings and allows for successful work.
  • Another great attraction is the use of off-site events. Company retreats, trips, and picnics are an excellent way to blow off some of the stress caused by work-related activities. Not only will this allow employees to blow off some steam, but it will also give them a chance to enhance relationships with coworkers.
  • To young professionals, free company gear can mean a lot. Things like T-shirts, polos, backpacks, hats, and jackets all branded by the company will make an impact. Employees will be able to show off and market the company while enjoying the luxury of free gear.

Company’s Purpose

Lastly, most people want a job that has a purpose; the ability to work for a reason other than just a paycheck. If a company has its values, purpose, and mission developed in full, it can bring more attention to employee candidates. While searching for a job, potential employees can match up a company’s values with their own, as well as seeing the purpose and the mission. This allows them to find the job that’s right for them.

If a company doesn’t offer most of these perks, they’re most likely not going to attract the best talent.

 

 

Why I Chose a Small Business over a Large Company

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Each company has their benefits as well as their negatives; regardless if they are a small or large company. For personal reasons we make our choices based on a variety of opinions. Looking at what each type of can offer a college graduate we can decide individually which is a right fit for you and your preferences.

What Large Companies Can Offer Recent College Graduates

Large companies benefit the college graduate through brand name association, co-workers, social aspects, and networking. Disadvantages of large companies such as feeling insignificant and being singled into a specific role. 

Brand Name Association

For a large company, the brand name has an immense impact. For example, companies like Google have absolutely no problem attracting employment-seeking individuals solely based on their brand name. Just by having that brand attached, employees automatically gain an advantage in future job searching processes. That advantage lies in the fact that they can get almost any other job that they want merely because that brand name is highlighted on their resume.

Co-Worker Camaraderie

The next thing that these large companies can offer is relatable coworkers. Whether it be at an intern level or at the fresh out of college level, there will be other people in the same exact position as you. Other new-hires will be joining this company around the same time, which gives a sense of relatability and ability to collaborate more effectively. This offering is a huge advantage for these companies. These new-hires will feel more comfortable and less stressed out starting off their jobs knowing that there will be others in the same position to relate to.

Social Benefits

As for a social aspect, it is believed that large companies can have both an advantage and disadvantage. The benefit comes in networking. As we know, with big corporations or firms, comes a much greater number of employees. The ability to be able to network yourself with as many people as possible is a huge turn on for potential new-hires for it can benefit them tremendously throughout their career.

Feeling Insignificant

The major disadvantage is that to this large company, you will start as just another number to them and it will be harder to create more interpersonal relationships with coworkers.

Singled into One Position

In a big company, they will typically only allow you to work in the field that they need you in the most. Then when you want to go to a different company, they might want you for something else that you have no experience in.

What Small Businesses Can Offer Recent College Graduates

Small businesses offer their own unique benefits, mainly due to the ability to engage on a more personal level. As well as offer flexibility within the company.

Hands On

At a smaller company, a recent college graduate will be engaged in a more hands on experience in more than just one field. The experiences are by far more practical and transferable.

Business Insights and Exposure

Small businesses can offer insights and exposure to more components of how the business is ran. This will allow a recent graduate to develop and grow in multiple aspects of their professional career. Also, skills you learn from working at a small business are considerably more likely to be useful in the future if you decide to work elsewhere.

Social Benefits

Social interactions and contributions in a small business bring several advantages to a young professional. Here they will have a mentor that will work more closely and frequently with just them. These mentors share their experience through stories that they have experienced through their careers. Regardless if the stories are specific to the company or the past jobs that they have experienced. The reduced boundaries are a big plus in growth and experience building through one-on-one training interactions.

Feeling Significant

they will feel more meaningful to the group rather than just another number in a large group. This is also true because your ideas, opinions, and suggestions are taken much more seriously while at a small business.

Co-Worker Benefits

You begin to gain a sense of camaraderie with coworkers and management. You will be receiving honest feedback based on your ideas. Giving the opportunity to brainstorm or spitball ideas with co-workers that have the same goal; building the company up.

Small Businesses Win

Based on these thoughts and offerings, I would choose a small business over a large company 10 times out of 10. If a small company is the right fit for you and your preferences, it makes much more sense to go along that route than be potentially miserable at a large company. In my recent experience along with talking to friends who joined large companies out of college, I truly believe that I made the right decision and would hope that many others decide to follow along the same path.