Last week I covered what an organization looks like when it is lacking one of the core elements of being a leader manager. Often we err on one end of the equation with our strong suit, but this week I am here to encourage you that there is room to improve so that you can be strong in both leadership AND management.
You can improve as a leader. There’s a lot of fuzziness on the subject of leadership, because it is somewhat intangible. You have a hard time putting your finger on the exact reason why some people are leaders, while others try, but never quite make it. This causes some people to believe that leaders are born not made.
It is true that certain people have qualities such as self-confidence, enthusiasm, or personal charisma that help them to emerge as leaders faster than others. However, this does not mean that you are doomed as a leader if you do not naturally possess these qualities.
There seems to be two basic ingredients that are always found in the strong leaders. The first is rapport. The leader builds rapport with his people by identifying with him, and them identifying with him. There is a reciprocal bond when this connection is felt by both leader and people.
A leader must always know his people. He must be aware of their dreams, hopes, fears, and their feelings of inadequacy. The world’s greatest leaders enjoyed the devoted support of their followers. Why? Because they have identified with them. They live the same, eat the same food, shared the same hopes and dreams and experiences & dangers and discomforts.
Certainly a leader is entitled to some privileges. But too many leaders get greedy. They want too many privileges. They become proud, they become distant, and people can no longer identify with them.
The second leadership ingredient is communication. The leader must be able to communicate with members of the group as a group, As well as with individuals within the group. The follower must feel that his leader is listening to him – that he will always get a fair hearing for his ideas, his fears, his dreams.
In turn, the leader must be able to communicate to his followers a sense of hope and assurance – hope that their desires can be realized, assurance their problems will be solved.
Communication takes time. Unless you’re willing to take the time to be with your people, to listen to them, to speak to them, you will never really be their leader. Therefore, to improve your position as a leader, you must improve your communication skills.
One of the most important basics in communication, is the ability to listen effectively. The axiom that says, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” certainly applies when were talking about communication.
You can also improve as a manager. The word management was coined by the Romans, and first applied to the training of wild horses by hand. The Romans believed that there were many jobs man could do better by utilizing the energy of the horses.
For example, if the job called for moving a lot of material, a manager could use horses to move larger loads faster. Or if the job required a man to move himself from one place to another, he could move faster and farther by using horsepower. This of course, meant that man had to size up the job, select the right horse for that job, and train it to perform properly. All of this was management. Gradually the word management evolved to describe the task of using manpower to get a job done. You can improve as a manager. If you will follow the same steps in utilizing manpower that the Romans used in utilizing horsepower.
Seven Steps for Improvement
Here are seven steps that will help you improve as a leader manager:
- Don’t try to do it all yourself. The one man band fancy himself a musician. But generally people don’t gain much from his performance. He is a stunt man not an artist.
- Size up the job. Think through exactly what it is that you want to do. have clear objectives. Make plans. Write them down on paper. Study them. Make sure you know exactly what you want to do. Have some idea of how you can do it, and what help you may need.
- Provide direction in writing. Stated generally, “if it’s not in writing it doesn’t count.” By putting directions in writing it enables those that read it to run with it. The old Testament prophet said, “write the vision and make it plain.” Most people think that providing direction is just providing vision. But real direction comes not only with vision but it also becomes much more clear when expectations, processes, and systems are put in writing.
- Select the right people. One reason so many have difficulty managing is that they have the wrong people assisting them. You may not be able to directly select the assistance you need, but you can at least insist that they be selected on the basis of qualifications that you help to establish.
- Established a core dialog schedule. Have your people report back to you on a regular schedule. Regular reporting enables the leader manager to keep a pulse on the organization.
- Spend time in training. Unless people are trained in the job requirements and procedures, they will not work efficiently. No matter how willing a worker maybe, if he lacks training, he cannot do this task properly.
- Use people wisely. Do not overwork your people but do not under employee him either. Use their talents and abilities wisely. To do this, plan well, communicate with your people and consult them on work expectations, their’s and yours.
Thanks for tuning in to my my series on being an effective leader manager. I am in the process working on a book that will help you to capture these leadership principles. When you are both an effective leader and manager, morale in your organization will be high. Things will move forward with greater harmony and enthusiasm. People will enjoy being a part of your organization and supporting it. Best of all, things will get done without requiring so much of your personal energy.
Join me each Monday for tips on leadership and entrepreneurship.