Comment

How to be a leader and not a manager

13 Sep 2021 By PM Editorial

Managers tend to delegate tasks to employees who work for them whereas leaders have people who follow them and believe in their company goals, say the team at Impact 

Managing a team of people comes with a new level of responsibilities. But have you ever considered the vast difference between being a manager and a leader? Harvard Business Review reports that 30 is the average age of a first-time manager while 40 is the age where people first embark on leadership training. This is a decade of lost years of building leadership skills – this can lead to ingraining bad habits and not practising to improve your style. 

Being a manager doesn’t automatically make you a leader. The main difference between a manager and a leader is that managers delegate tasks to those who work for them whereas leaders have people follow them and believe in what they're setting out for the company. The best part of the last year has demonstrated that leaders need to be prepared and agile to respond to protect their business and employees.

Here, we determine the four ways that managers can transform themselves into leaders.

Respect goes two ways

Firstly, and most importantly, be respectable. Respect should be earned, not expected – no employee is going to consider a manager their leader if they don’t respect them. There are a number of things you should consider in order to gain your employees’ respect. After all, if they respect you, they’re likely to work harder for you, cooperate more with others, be more creative, resilient, and likely to take direction.

These include:

  • Leading by example Be prepared to pick up tasks big and small, for example making your own cup of coffee or printing copies out to hand out to the workforce.
  • Listen to your team  Open the floor for others to speak and allow them to voice their opinions on how to improve things. Holding steady team meetings opens up a dialogue of feedback and ideas.
  • Follow through on deadlines and agreements If you can’t meet your own deadlines, why should your team? If you offer to help someone on a particular project, honour that promise. 
  • And accept responsibility if things don’t work out

Communication is key

Never underestimate the power of communication. Managers with poor communication skills often alienate their workers, leaving the team confused and with little faith that things are being run properly. 

Take time to communicate your ideas, expectations, strategies, and everything in between, making everyone else feel involved in what’s going on. You can do this by thinking of any strategy the same as telling a story to someone who knows nothing about it. You can focus on things you don’t know or what you need to understand yourself in order to relay it to others. 

By involving your team and keeping them engaged, this will also allow successful executions and a happy, motivated team – you can't expect a strategy to work if it isn’t understood and nobody is committed.

Shape company culture

Leaders should contribute to an active company culture. If workers' characteristics don't fit into the culture, this could influence their decision to leave. By defining a culture early on and recruiting those who fit into the talent pool, employees will feel comfortable which will have a positive effect on their performance. 

Harvard Business carried out research to find out which qualities are most important in leaders. Around 700 workers were asked what qualities they value the most – 70 per cent agreed that creating a culture of engagement is a very important attribute and results in lower turnover rates, more productivity, and more profitability. 

This reiterates what was mentioned in the first section – leaders must lead by example. They can determine how valued traits are within the business, for example, communication, integrity, and commitment. Employees who work in an engaging culture with their leader will have positive opinions about the company and will be strong advocates. 

Leadership training programs

Go over and beyond for your team and consider enrolling on leadership training programs, which are designed to guide leaders through key issues and how to effectively adopt forward-thinking strategies. Organisations are constantly evolving in the modern world, therefore so does the nature of leading. Building on agile and reactive skills can help you become a capable and inspiring leader.

Leaders certainly have a big responsibility to inspire and encourage their workers – so it is important to do it properly.

Impact is an experiential learning company

People Business Partner - Band 8A

People Business Partner - Band 8A

Southmead Hospital

£47,126 - £53,219 per annum + excellent NHS benefits

North Bristol NHS Trust

HR Service Manager

HR Service Manager

West Midlands

SM2 Hay Grade (£76,130 - £87,034)

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

View More Jobs

Explore related articles