Anybody can become a member of management if they know the right people and say the right things at the right time. But not everybody can be a leader. A manager or boss is somebody with a certain organizational title that heads or oversees a select group of employees.
A leader, on the other hand, is somebody with that same title who commands and receives respect from the employees he or she oversees. What is that difference and how can you make that transition from manager to leader?
How many times are we subject to employees discussing their bosses in a negative light over their lunch breaks? The number one complaint from any employee is surprisingly not the lack of a raise, but rather, a lack of positive reinforcement and acknowledgment. If you want to separate yourself from those managers who are still working with the 1950s mindset of management, then you must develop a personal leadership development plan.
Read, Read, Read
Benjamin Franklin once said, Empty the coins in your purse into your mind and your mind will fill your purse with coins. You must invest in yourself to become a leader. Invest in yourself by reading books about those leaders you respect or about developing leadership qualities. Read these books, take notes, highlight key passages, and, most importantly, practice these new skills every day.
A bookshelf bowing from the weight of leadership books packed on it means nothing if you are not practicing the leadership skills on a daily basis. If you tend to question yourself and your own actions, begin by reading books not on leadership, but on building self-confidence. Start with Shad Helmstetter’s What to Say When You Talk to Yourself to teach yourself positive self-talk. Then advance on to John Maxwell’s 101″ books like Leadership 101″ and Attitude 101.
Short-Term & Long-Term Goals
Start with your short term goals. Determine what you would like to get accomplished in the next thirty days, the next sixty days, and the next ninety days. This is when most of your changes will occur, as you set the tone for both yourself and your staff members. One cannot become a leader alone. If you turn around and nobody is following you, you’re simply taking a walk.
Determine from your staff members either individually or in a combined group effort what their idea of leadership is. Remember that these short term goals are not meant to establish your marks for increased productivity or efficiency. These short-term goals should be used to build the rapport between you and your staff members and to create a positive working environment.
Once you have accomplished your short-term goals, start in on your long-term goals: one year, three years and five years. While these long-term goals include where you want to see the company going, they should also include seeing your staff members progress in both knowledge and stature.
Always keep in mind that a leader pushes their staff up, not down. Determine what each member of your staff has to offer and help them to excel in that area, as well as those areas where they may need a little bit of help. Many managers like to stifle their staff’s natural abilities to ensure their own job is kept safe. A leader, on the other hand, recognizes his/her weaknesses and surrounds him/herself with a team of people who are great at things he/she is not.Always keep in mind