Be more than a manager be a leader
Are you a manager or a leader? Many see these titles as synonymous, but the subtle difference in definition is quite important. Quite simply, all managers should strive to be leaders. Leaders are goal-oriented individuals who can visualize the “big picture.” Their credibility allows them to communicate effectively their ideas to others, thus motivating their team to action.
The following behavioral traits characterize a true leader who is also an effective manager. A leader:
n Gives others vision – Leaders can draw others to them. They have a way of communicating that brings others to a place they haven’t seen before. In order to be capable of this, you must know what you want, and be able to clearly communicate your vision. Others must be able to understand and relate to the goals and direction of your projects.
They must also see enough value in your goal so that they feel giving their support is justified. Setting up visual charts and graphs, and posting progress is one way to let others see how their efforts help reach goals.
- Communicates meaning and understanding – Leaders have an ability to communicate meaning through the use of models and examples to clarify their vision for others. A leader needs to have the ability to breathe life into ideas. People relate and respond to mental images or models more than words.
- Instills trust – Leaders have the ability to instill trust. The main determinant of trust is consistency. People want to know where their leaders stand, and what they stand for. A recent study showed that people would much rather follow someone they can count on, even when they disagree with him or her, instead of someone they agree with but who waivers on the issues.
- Understands one’s self – Leaders need to know the extent of their skills and be able to apply them effectively. This quality is critical to effective leadership. Leaders without self-awareness can do more harm than good.
Take the step up and become a leader by analyzing your communication style. Try speaking in a manner using comparisons that allow others to visualize your goals. Create mental pictures for your audience to grasp.
Become consistent in the ways that you put plans into effect and reinforce the actions of others. Evaluate your practices and accept constructive criticism. Others will be drawn to your leadership when you execute these methods.