“Managers light a fire under people; leaders light a fire in people.” – Kathy Austin
In my previous life as an Executive Recruiter the number one reason for candidates leaving a job was having a bad manager. We have all had them and yet as you step in to a management role you often clone the managers you have had and end up managing or mismanaging employees with very similar results. It is easier to fall back on the terrible habits of management then to take the time to learn how to understand your employees and motivate them to want to follow you rather than resentfully do as you have directed through your authority.
Bad managers are never available, blame others for their mistakes, do not give feedback, play favourites with staff, are disrespectful, and don’t trust their staff. They create a toxic environment to work in and are extremely defensive if someone is brave enough to point out their short comings. Then they will conduct a vendetta until they get rid of that person. My personal favourite bad habit of bad a manager is micromanaging staff. Why would you spend good money on recruiting an experienced person and then micromanage them Salespeople are very independent and love interacting with people without being tied to an office and yet I hear so many complaints of salespeople being stuck in the office with access paperwork and micromanaged to death.
A good leader is the opposite. They invest time and money in training to learn about how to understand their people and how best to motivate them. They trust their staff to do a great job and they treat employees fairly. If criticised, they take what has been said on-board and are grateful for the employees feedback, and don’t hold a grudge. They provide feedback to employees in a positive and respectful way. They make themselves available when staff need them. They ensure the right resources are available to enable staff to do their jobs properly.
A good leader creates an environment where everyone works together as a team. They care about their people and believes that success comes when everyone reaches their full potential. I have worked for some high performing teams in the past, and from an employee perspective, it is a very satisfying and enjoyable experience. I only left the organisation because my manager left. I then followed him over to his new company because good managers, especially in those days are hard to find.
It takes more time and effort to be a leader than a manager, but it is time well spent with amazing results. Business Owners who are often make the worse managers because they find it difficult to give up control, have to learn to trust their staff so they can leverage of the human resources they have and ensure the success and growth of their companies. So make the decision today to become a leader and not just a a manager!