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.