Managers and leaders are often referred to interchangeably. But in reality, they are quite different.
Managers control and direct people according to the values that have been established. Leaders set new direction or vision for their group. They also act as the spearhead for that new direction.
Management without leadership
Managers without leadership characteristics serve to control resources to maintain a status quo. They work to ensure that all things are happening according to the already established plans. A good example of a manager is a referee. Referees exist to make sure that all players abide by the rules that are set for a certain sport. However, a referee would not provide any leadership because there is no change or new direction required.
Managers who don’t have effective leadership skills can actually cause losses to your business. By demotivating the people who report to them, it restricts employees’ ability to demonstrate the valuable skillset they were hired for in the first place.
In addition to not being able to motivate employees, some managers have a difficult time placing trust in them. Instead, they prefer to handle the key tasks themselves instead of delegating them. This also causes employees to lose confidence and become disengaged.
What makes a good leader?
It is well-known that good leadership is crucial to the success of any business. But, to become a leader is not a task that can be accomplished overnight. There are many factors that contribute to good leadership. Over time, anyone can become a good leader regardless of whether the person possesses natural leadership traits or not.
Here are three critical components to being a good leader:
1. Effective communication skills—especially about burnout
Communication is the most important element of leadership. With the COVID-19 pandemic came an increase in remote workers. I’m not sure anyone expected this new way of remote management to last as long as it has. Additionally, the concern of employee mental health and well-being became more important as people became more isolated.
Every good leader must learn effective communication skills, but the pandemic has introduced the need to place an extra focus on burnout.
A recent Software Advice article found that burnout is, in fact, the biggest threat to employees’ well-being. A whopping 77% of employees who transitioned to working from home due to the pandemic are experiencing at least some burnout (alarmingly high among younger workers) where 41% said they haven’t discussed mental well-being with their manager lately.
When you are open to communication, you are able to clearly convey your ideas and thoughts to employees so they have better direction. At the same time, you can more effectively listen to your employees’ feedback to find out what problems they may be facing, and how you can address them.
2. Collaboration and teamwork
It goes without saying that two heads are better than one. Teamwork is always something to consider when you are determined to become a good leader. This means providing opportunities for employees to work together and collaborate on projects. But it also means becoming part of the team yourself.
The purpose of teambuilding is to achieve a task that would be difficult or impossible for a single individual to perform in the given conditions. Team members need to be clear on the purpose the team is willing to achieve.
When teamwork and collaboration are effective, productivity and engagement increases.
3. Motivation and engagement
Motivation is another trait that is vital for good leadership. Employees tend to stagnate when their motivation goes down. They start becoming less engaged. The reason for this is the lack of motivation from leaders.
There are still managers who tend to motivate employees with a “do what I say or something bad will happen” mindset. This may get results, but only for a short period.
Leaders, on the other hand, use positive motivation to engage their employees, such as providing opportunities to challenge themselves and grow. This style proves to be more effective over the long term.
To learn more about becoming a better leader or gaining new leadership skills, browse through our course marketplace.