Good managers should become good leaders too

Last Updated 13 July 2010, 13:23 IST

When discussing business leadership, the distinction between good management and good leadership is often made. Leading and managing are two distinct yet symbiotic qualities that every organisation looks for in a person who is moving up the ladder. However, this right blend is rare and cannot be easily found.

Good managerial skills are all about planning and utilising time, resources and man power to get the work done. However, having good leadership skill is a different ball game all together. A leader is a visionary, who must have the ability to see the bigger picture of things. This quality will help a good manager build a self driven team. Delegation becomes easy for a manager who has a self driven team.

Managers must become good leaders too. This will not only help their subordinates but also help the organisation achieve its short term and long term goals. Organisations must understand the difference between leaders and managers. The learning and development team in the organisation should take cognizance and should consciously train people to be both leaders and managers.

It is often believed that it is easy to be a good manager, but it is seldom true. A good manager must have clear convictions and manifest those convictions into reality. A person, who has successfully achieved this fundamental principle and understands the deeper role of a guide, is a leader.   Today’s business environment is over-managed and under-led. Today, employees aspire to work under bosses whom they can follow. They want to place trust in someone who is not only working for the greater good of the organisation, but also helping his or her subordinates to grow and achieve bigger milestones. Good Managers with leadership qualities always work on being good mentors for there subordinates.

Good managers not only use their ‘positional power’ to direct, supervise and manage the resources of an organisation but also play inspire, influence and challenge people to achieve greater goals. This helps in achieving the organisational vision in a very short span of time. The collective effort of the organisation and its employees can only be successful with proper facilitation of the managers.  An organisation that has smart managers is always ahead of the competition because they provide necessary on ground information to the top management, which helps it strategise for the organisation. They also help in the proper implementation of staff to achieve the target vision of the firm. A good manager always contributes to the bottom line of the company by ensuring that the task assigned to an employee is successfully completed. So, how does he or she achieve this objective?

-  Communication is the key: A good manager always communicates the business objectives to the employees. This allows them to see how their department and personal objectives support and contribute to the bigger picture.

-  Assessment skills: A good manager also needs to be able to evaluate their subordinates skills, knowledge and abilities. This gives them the ability to assign tasks and responsibilities to the appropriate team member so department objectives can be achieved successfully.

-    Empowering people: Good managers must encourage their subordinates to take ownership of the task assigned to them. They must facilitate their learning process of there subordinates. Delegation is an art. Good managers must plan well, so as to know what to delegate and whom to delegate and how much time should be allocated for the person who will be performing this task. This also ensures that people under good managers grow as better managers in due course of time   

- Handling people: Good managers often get the most from their employees. They always orient their teams to the existing or changing processes, provide job information and align performance expectations to the job allocated; they identify training requirements and provide periodical feedback. Ultimately, a great manager is somebody who can make the sum of a team greater than a collection of individuals. Great managers handle people with grace and ease, caring for them and encouraging them to achieve their goals.
Finally, a great manager allows the team to flourish and creates value to each individual as well as for the company

- Conflict resolution: A team/organisation comprises of people who come from various mind sets and different backgrounds. Conflict resolution through smart interpersonal skills is a very important role to be played by a manager.

- Rewarding employees: A good manger always highlights an employee’s achievement to the top management and helps his recognition programme in place.

Apart from managing, motivating and utilising the company’s resources to scale up business; smart managers have the ability to deal with set backs, failures and unforeseen challenges. During hard times, managers can only become leaders if they have the ability to communicate hard truths to the company and employees. Managers not only have the ability to deal with tough challenges but also to mentor others to stand tall during crises.  

Leadership starts individually, and the way in which an individual approaches his daily life. Every person must be self driven and learn to lead his life only then will they be effective in dealing with other people.    

“When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.” A true leader must follow this religiously. Companies who have thinking managers have a pool of leaders in them. In tough times, these managers keep their thinking hats on and come up with many alternative solutions and plans so that the business continuity of the organisation is never at stake. Many innovations in organisation have been introduced by such managers and hence, it gives the company a cutting edge over its competition.

Every executive’s career goes through four important steps i.e., hire, inspire, admire and retire. In a middle management level, a good manager must start inspiring people to have goals and achieve them and if they are successful in doing so, during the end of their careers, they would win people’s admiration. Most good managers are good leaders since they have the right vision in place and they manage people and organisational priorities and most importantly help the organisation make more leaders and good mangers.

(The writer is Head of Human Resource Ness Technologies)

(Published 13 July 2010, 13:23 IST)

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