In terms of administration, can a manager lead well? Can a leader manage others competently? Some professionals look at managers and leaders as mutually exclusive terms, thinking of them as having different qualities and duties. But some claim they overlap — in other words, it’s entirely possible to be both a manager and a leader…and to successfully play both roles. So why should a manager be a great leader as well? The four points below help answer that question.
A manager who doubles as a great leader:
- Communicates well. A good manager supervises his employees and makes sure they understand all business objectives. A great manager also gives employees someone to follow (a primary quality of a leader) by inspiring them to understand and meet all of those objectives. He also listens to the people around him – this makes them feel as though he takes them seriously and cares about their contributions. Listening constructively to employees’ suggestions and critiques may lead to changes and innovations that help improve the company and inspire loyalty and focus among those employees as well.
- Takes calculated risks. Most managers avoid risk if possible; they seek to eliminate risk because it goes against the idea of maintaining the status quo. But managers who lead, when given innovative ideas, use their management skills to break down risks to minimize possible fallout. They work with others to get support for making possible mistakes along the way. calculating what’s acceptable. They learn from their mistakes and challenge their own pre-conceived assumptions. As a result, they inspire innovation in their employees.
- Can see both the forest and the trees. It’s not easy balancing the focus on administering and keeping structure, and looking toward the future and possible innovations. Managers tend to stick to the former (the trees), while leaders look at the latter (the forest). But similar to the point above, a great manager can go back and forth between the two, executing strategy while seeking out how to create strategy as well. One informs the other.
- Holds himself/herself accountable for moving the business forward. Effective managers motivate their team to work smarter and harder. They solicit input from all members of the team so everyone feels a sense of shared responsibility for the outcome. However, a manager who leads also understands that she has the power to make all of that come together; she must know how to create that motivation and sense of team. If the group doesn’t come together, that can stem from lack of clear objectives, a disconnect somewhere in the team, or another factor that a quality manager/leader should be on top of. The team that wins the Superbowl tends to have the most effective coach, and vice versa.
It’s not easy, but a great manager knows how to tread the line and bring the best of both positions to the job. As a manager, do what you can to maintain and develop those around you. For more management strategies, read our related posts or reach out to the recruiting experts at Creative Staffing today!