There is a distinction between management and leadership. Management is a matter of job title that is given by your organization or by yourself if you are the owner of the company. On the other hand leadership is recognition by those whom you lead. Expressed in different terms a manager has the authority and a leader has the power.
The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. People are not born leaders. Leadership is developed and there is not one set of leadership traits. In fact there are examples of two very effective leaders with highly contradictory traits.
The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. A military leader does not have to possess the traits and style of George S. Patton to be an effective commander. People with totally different traits such as Colin Powell or Norman Schwarzkopf were equally effective leaders.
A great leader understands what motivates people. If you wish to lead your team in your company, your agency or your office you should understand that as well. It is important to understand that today’s workforce does not react the same as Patton’s troops did. Fear and incentive motivation does work but it does not have lasting results. Today’s leadership is positive. So in order to be a great leader you must understand the motivation of your people as well as what motivates you. Keep these points in mind:
- Clearly explain your vision, your goals and objectives as well as those of your organization. A clear vision lets people know what to do.
- Convey a positive attitude. In order to empower your people to achieve results you must begin by developing positive attitudes toward yourself and your abilities.
- Be confident in your ability. Others on the team may have self-doubts but your ability to lead is connected to your confidence level. Your confidence will help others overcome their self-doubts and replace those doubts with positive beliefs.
- Be a good listener. Good communication is essential for building trust and understanding. In order to understand other people the leader must listen much more than he or she talks.
- Lead by example. If you tell your people that they must set goals, manage their time, and measure success you need to be doing that and it must be visible to your team.
- Give meaningful feedback. People are most productive and have the best attitudes when they receive a balance for both positive and negative feedback. Remember to catch people doing things right as well as when things are wrong.
Remember that leadership is not given it is earned. You can call yourself the boss, the owner, or you can be promoted to manager. But the team will work best with you when they see you as the leader.