The managers in your organization are all, by the very nature of their role, in leadership positions — typically ascending to this level of responsibility because they’ve been high performers in their careers. However, just because a promising employee achieves a management-level position, doesn’t necessarily mean they have the tools, skills and mindset to be an effective leader. Leadership skills are not innate — they must be learned and consistently developed over time.
In consideration of what it means to be a leader, I think of someone who is not only adept at managing the day-to-day responsibilities of their team (including tracking tasks and delivering work on schedule); they are also able to keep the bigger picture in mind, seeing the “forest for the trees” and therefore performing their work with a larger goal in mind. Leaders are both tactical and strategic.
The journey of evolving from a manager to a leader is truly personal and individual — there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to that development process. However, there are three fundamental characteristics that most inspiring leaders exhibit:
- They are great listeners. Strong leaders excel at listening. They understand that their role is to cultivate and support the individuals on their team, and the first step towards achieving that goal is to hear what they have to say. At the same time, they are focused on the messages coming from their own managers and senior executives, leveraging those ideas to inspire and inform the purpose behind their work.
- They don’t sweat the small stuff. With demanding timelines, budget shortfalls and other challenges, it’s easy for managers to get caught up in the day-to–day work. But this kind of thinking can be short sighted and limiting to your teams. For example, suppose you have an employee who is consistently late to the office. Instead of a punitive approach, perhaps a better tactic is one of collaboration — understanding what’s causing the issue and how it can collectively be solved. Perhaps they’ve recently moved or are having issues with public transportation. Talk it through and come to a solution that works for everyone. The outcome of that conversation has the possibility to yield better productivity and reduce stress, while creating an opportunity to build trust and a sense of support.
- They keep the overall mission in mind. Managers, especially new managers, are often determined to prove themselves from a performance perspective, such as making sure their sales are strong or their revenues are high. However, with this mentality there’s the potential to lose sight of the bigger mission. High-performing leaders have a strong understanding of the strategic initiatives of the organization. They have a firm grasp of the overall objectives they are working towards, and they keep their team on track to achieve them. These goals tend to be very different given the maturity of the organization, and could encompass several areas including performance, culture building, recruiting, retention, mentorship or developing a new class of future leaders.
How we can help
Investing in your managers through leadership development offers many benefits, not just for the managers themselves, but for their teams and the overall culture of your organization. In fact, ongoing leadership training can truly be a competitive advantage. Our experienced team can perform an assessment of your current leadership culture and develop a customized plan and curriculum to help your managers evolve into the inspiring leaders you need to take your organization to the next level. We can also evaluate and advise on your current performance management process and offer suggestions on how it can be fine-tuned to support the culture you’re working to achieve.
Contact us to discuss your leadership development needs and visit our interactive guide to discover additional ways you can leverage outsourced and managed services from BPM to help your organization realize its future vision.