MANAGER – This word literally means “one who manages”, someone who can take charge and control of things and manage work, but in reality it has boiled down to just “managing people”. We hire managers not for strategic tasks but to manage people well, some may disagree with my statement to say managing people is a task too and I agree but what do they end up managing – who is productive v/s who is not, who is taking more breaks, who is not completing the task, who has a will v/s skill issue, who is coming late, who is making an excuse of taking a last minute leave and the list goes on. Nowadays, we hire Managers to remind people to do what they were hired for. We are so used to having someone keep a tab of our progress that if we don’t have a manager, we nag about having one and we wait for someone to question and remind us about our core job. This may sound very blunt but if we analyze ourselves in full honesty – this statement will make a bit of sense to each one of us…but in reality the truth is we don’t need a manager to manage us but a leader to look upon and learn from.
If you truly want to do justice to this title then there are few things one needs to do in addition to managing people :
Don’t confine yourself to the role you are hired for: No role can be chalked out in white and black. There are always things you have to take care of based on the need of the organization or of your client or of your team. Be ready to take ownership of getting the work done, which helps the company grow, your team grow.
Lead by example: We all are good preachers and that’s good but people respect who practice what they preach. One must try to lead by examples – if there is a crisis situation, figure out a way to come out of it, if your team is unable to find a resolution, help them with an effective way to resolve things and there can be many ways in which you can be a true leader. Leaders don’t give excuses they deliver results.
Don’t wear the manager hat: You have been given the power and authority but the day you start feeling you have the extra privilege which no one else does, you may lose the actual power -trust of people. No one likes to deal with a person with superiority complex or I AM THE BOSS kind. You need to have a relationship with your team where they can trust you, speak their heart out, be professional yet friendly and treat you as their mentor and not a manager.
Go an extra mile: We all have our priorities and driving factors. Some work for money, some for growth, some for learning and some for all. However, we get so engrossed in our priorities that we neglect the fact that we can make a difference to someone’s life – think about helping someone with a task which was not in your KRA. Imagine a little act of gesture like helping someone with excel formula or helping someone with making edits in word. You go an exta mile to make sure your team is happy. Even if it’s not documented anywhere to do so.
Be a motivator: we all face challenges at work and many a times may feel like giving up – that’s when leaders play a role. They motivate and bring out the best in their people. They know if there is a bad day then it’s going to end and there will be a good day again. They know if mistakes happen then we should learn and move on and not repeat it, they know what to say and how to say.
Groom your team: Leaders prepares their team for the next level. We all have something unique in us. Leaders identify that extra something and groom you to make you a better person. They teach you how to overcome your weakness, they may be blunt in sharing feedback which you may not like but if they are sharing feedback means they care for you and want you to perform and grow.
Take Ownership: Don’t get into blame game, if a mistake has happened, admit and learn the lessons and take ownership. Lot of us waste lot of time in proving – it was not my fault but leaders take the blame and work on making things better. They deliver results. They know that they will be able to take charge of the situation no matter how worse it may be. They prove with their actions that they are dependable and mature to handle every worse that comes their way.
Stick to your words and decisions: It’s said, make promises you can keep. Lot of us have a habit of saying things we don’t mean but leaders are very good with their choice of words, they say what they mean and keep up to the promises made. If you are not keeping your words and maintaining your stand then you are losing trust of your team and even management.
Have strong work ethics and respect for each other: Integrity is doing things when no one is watching and this is exactly what leaders do – they don’t compromise on work ethics. Being punctual, being honest about the work, being true to the people, being committed – all of this makes you a leader.
Sharing is caring: A true leader believes in sharing. We all learn from our experiences and a true leader will share the experiences and learnings. One should share the best practice tips, one should share the knowledge he/she has – one must stop feeling insecure. True leaders are not insecure because they know the only way to learn better is to teach what you know is by passing on the knowledge as there is no end to learning. Learn from others and have an open mind to realize no one is perfect – no one can ever be.
It’s easy to write all this but very difficult to implement in real life, however, the choice is yours, do you want to be a Manager or a Leader. We all are adults and we don’t need a manager to manage us or to remind us what we are hired for. Instead, we need a leader in true sense who we can look up to as a true mentor and guide.