Written by: Tara Lehman, copyright 2019
Are you a leader? Yes, I am a manager therefore I am a leader.
The answer here is a common misconception. Just because you are a manager, does not necessarily mean you are a leader. If you are a manager, then your ability to manage people and manage workloads has been recognized and you have likely been promoted. This is great and congratulations! We need people who can manage, as not everyone has this ability. Managers help ensure the work gets done and that they have people to do the tasks they are strong at. However, this does not always make you a leader.
Are you a leader? Not yet, but I am working at it.
This answer is from someone who is new at understanding what leadership is. Perhaps they are a manager who realizes they need to do more to have a team that: works well together, feels empowered, can be left to make some decisions and can grow to their highest potential.
So, what makes you a leader? Being a leader is not natural to everyone and not all managers will be great leaders. A leader is someone who leads a team to success. The team follows their leader as they know the way because the leader shows them, not dictates the way. They empower their employees to make some decisions without having to receive a stamp of approval from the manager. A leader is someone who will see a mistake of their employee and instead of condoning them, positively shows their employee what went wrong, then how to fix it. This helps the employee learn and empowers the employee to correct their error, reducing the possibility it may happen again. Remember, we are all human – we will make mistakes and errors, but we should be allowed to learn from our mistakes and fix our own errors in order to ensure the learning can happen. If there are repetitive errors, then your corrective action process should be followed.
Leaders recognize that everyone is different. We all, including leaders, have strengths and weaknesses. A leader will review their personal and their employee’s strengths and weaknesses, then put their team in a place where the strengths are always utilized, and the weaknesses are allowed to grow into strengths. This is done through: mentoring their employees, partnering them with those who have their weakness as a strength in order to grow their employees, and through training (on the job training, external or even a college course). A leader will provide constant training to ensure the team can always provide the customers with the best experience, service or product that they can. Remember a leader can be leading: production line staff, office staff, sales staff, warehouse staff, design staff, management group, and everyone else who works for a company. No one should be forgotten, or you will be missing out on a strength and a possible leader in the future.
Want to know if you could be a great leader? Ask yourself if you are: empowering your team to make decisions, growing personally, allowing your team to grow, educating yourself and your team, learning from your and your teams mistakes, continually improving your skills and those of your team, listening to your team’s ideas and considering them, collaborating together with your team on safety/new ideas/ways to improve, providing positive feedback and constructive feedback, and recognizing and accepting we are all different and come from different backgrounds. If you are doing all these things, then you may already be a great leader. If you are missing some of these, then take note where you need to grow and make a plan to do just that. Your team and your company will be better for it.
At Twin Life Coaching & Business Services we are trained in helping leaders: grow, learn, understand and be a proud leader. Reach out to us so we can make a plan to help you be the best leader you can be. Here are a few key words to help you move forward as a leader: Lead by Example, Empowerment, Collaborate, Personal Growth, Accept Differences, Use Strengths, Develop Weaknesses, Employee Growth, Teamwork.