What’s the big deal with becoming a Manager? Why do some try to do that? And why do companies promote people who end up being terrible managers and lousy bosses? More importantly, if you are one of the people being put into management, what can you do to make it a success?
Being in management is associated with a position, title, and certain responsibilities and compensation. People naturally strive to make those career advancements, but it’s not for everyone. Sadly, few consider becoming a real leader in the role. You can truly manage something without ever becoming a good leader.
You can press the buttons, push the paper, and make people do their work (fear, power, and oppression/intimidation) but that doesn’t inspire productivity and loyalty. When a work team is run this way, there is low morale and high turnover. Plus you get tagged “bad boss”.
Leaders inspire their team. They create trust and loyalty. They naturally motivate people, turnover is low.
I don’t advocate anything about management practice alone. I feel (and experience has proven) that someone who focuses only on management won’t be around long.
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Leaders make the difference
When you take on a management role, you should begin thinking about what it takes to become a leader. If you’ve never studied leadership, here are five ways you can get a jump start on rising above the crowd.
Read – Yes, read about successful leaders. Ask around to get references for some great books. John Maxwell is a world renown expert on leadership theory, practice, and teaching. He’s written some 25 books, sold 16 million copies, and presented leadership conferences in over 30 countries. He’d be a good start.
Find a Model – A role model that is. Identify someone at your work or in your community who stands out as a role model for good leadership. Just ask them if they will be willing to spend some time sharing ideas and helping you build some leadership muscle.
Preferably you find a mentor who will agree to a longer term relationship; someone with whom you can explore leadership ideas.
Hire a Coach – OK, yes, I am a coach, so I think hiring one is smart. Forget me for a minute. Think about where coaching is used elsewhere. Coaches have been around for a long time in all things sports. Why? Players need help developing their “better self” to get stronger, more flexible, more agile, and better informed about the sport.
We think of sports coaches as a natural fit. So why not career coaches or executive coaches to help build leadership muscle. More and more, professionals in all walks are turning to coaching to help build better leadership skills.
Join a Mastermind – Iron sharpens iron. Find or create a group of like-minded managers who also want to grow. Share ideas and experiences in a highly confidential and trustworthy way. Help each other grow.
Practice – Back to the sports connection. You won’t get better without practice. Take the information you receive and put it into practice. See what works and what doesn’t work. By using the principles you learn, you exercise that leadership muscle, helping it grow.
With practice, you will find more confidence in your ability to lead the team. Your decisions will come easier and be more reliable.
Don’t get stuck or left behind
Moving into management can be a great opportunity. Just don’t get bogged down in the weeds. Get the job going, but then focus on developing as a leader. Take the simple but important steps to move forward each day. Find ways to grow your awareness of the big difference between just being a manager or becoming a leader.
The world needs leaders everywhere; at work, at home, and in the community. By growing your own capacity to lead, you can make a difference in this world, right where you are.
[reminder]If you are a manager, what are you doing to make a better difference?[/reminder]