The difference between being a leader and being a manager is an important distinction to consider in regards to effective leadership. An effective leader makes sure to focus on the people on his or her team. A manager, on the other hand, is more focused on the results that the team can produce.
While both managers and leaders engage in the same sort of activities–such as delegating projects and instructing others–leaders demonstrate authentic concern for their followers. As a result, team members are more willing to listen and follow a leader who shows interest in them because they feel that he or she is invested in their success. Furthermore, true leadership depends on motivating those around you. One way that a leader motivates others is by modeling the type behavior that he or she expects from the team–not just giving orders and sitting back. For example, Cleveland Cavaliers MVP and NBA champ LeBron James is known for encouraging his teammates by arriving at training sessions before anybody else does. After seeing how hard he works in training, his team members feel compelled to work just as hard. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent success in the NBA Finals is no doubt due in part to LeBron James’ motivating leadership.
Communication is critical to successful leadership as well. Specifically, effective leaders recognize the importance of bestowing praise and acknowledging the accomplishments of their team members. The best leaders understand that success or failure depends on the team and their effort–not just the direction or decisions of the leader.
Managers get the job done, but leaders do more than just produce results. The most successful leaders inspire their team to work harder by putting genuine effort into their work and investing in the people around them. While effective leadership can be difficult to master, it is crucial for every manager to reflect upon the quality of leadership that he or she brings to any situation. Ultimately, the amount of success they achieve may depend on it.
Below are three key leadership takeaways to keep in mind if you want to be a better leader.
- Demonstrate concern/interest for your team members so that they feel valued. The result: your team members will be more engaged and willing to support you.
- Motivate others by modeling the behavior that you want to see. Successful leaders are not afraid to get their hands dirty. The result: you will appear more authentic to those around you, and you will increase their trust in you.
- Remember to praise/acknowledge your team members when they deserve it. The result: your team members will feel valued and will strive to produce quality work.