Think of the first job you had as a teenager. Maybe you worked for a fast-food establishment; maybe you stocked shelves at the local grocery store. Was your boss someone who inspired you, who challenged you on your strengths or did your boss primarily create your work schedule and give you tasks? If you answered yes to the latter, you most likely had a shift manager and probably not a very good one. In fact, if you were in your teens, your shift manager was probably only in their twenties, with only a little more life experience than you. There is a monumental difference between being a manager and being a manager who is also a leader. Some people are natural-born leaders, most can evolve into greatness with a willingness to learn, an open mind and a confident spirit. The graphic below from Mindtools.com illustrates the transformation of a person just ordering everyone around into a true leader.
Evolving Into a Leader
There are people with great ideas who are not comfortable with their people and communication skills. Fantastic career paths are out there for brilliant minds, but for the introverted personality, management it not the right path. It is imperative to be able to not only communicate effectively with subordinates, but with vendors, the executive team, the public and, of course, customers. Each exchange with each of these groups requires tact, charm and confidence. A leader has to be the champion of her team to her boss, as well as be the embassador of the executive officers to her subordinates. A leader assuages fears and rumors, articulates progress to stakeholders, charms potential investors, and is the symbolic figurehead to the public when she is networking.
A manager-leader is intuitive and has a passion about helping her team be the best they can be with the strengths and talents they uniquely possess. She can sense when one of her teammates is discouraged, unchallenged, stuck and anxious. She has patience to listen but has the discipline to keep the conversation on tangent. She recognizes each of her subordinates’ currency. This means she knows what kind of recognition and/or reward has the most value. She doesn’t play favorites; she shields her worries and concerns, especially of the personal nature, from her team; she keeps a real perspective, and with her, the glass is always half-full.
Did this section describe your first manager? Does it describe your current manager? Is this you? Take our leadership quiz and find out!
By Lisa Landis Follow @LisaLadola13