Have you ever worked for a manager whose management style was so positive you wanted to go out of your way to do a good job for him/her? If that manager was able to generate that level of attitude from you, he or she must have been doing something right. What was it?
It was Leadership.
Let’s examine some of the tenets of sound leadership that lead to excellent management and results.
Great Leaders know where they are going. They listen to others and accept and evaluate input from others; however, they know their minds and are dedicated to producing quality results. Aren’t you attracted to managers who demand the best from you? Aren’t you impressed by leaders who not only expect quality work but demand that you be your best?
When a manager who is a sound leader gives instruction to a staff, and as soon as that manager/leader turns his back, the staff immediately begins to produce quality results.
Compare that with the manager that gives instruction to the staff, and as soon as the manager turns his back, the staff ignores the instructions, or worse, actively tries to sabotage the manager. Is that the fault of the staff, or of the manager? Is it a sign of a lack of leadership? Yes it is.
To demonstrate leadership, a leader must have his staff on the same page he’s with himself. Often that comes from hiring the right people, terminating those who are not team players, and training, training, training. Quality workmanship requires quality training that never ends.
A leader does not approach his staff with a temper tantrums and argumentative attitudes. Instead a leader begins in a friendly way, give appreciation, perhaps even verbalize some positive attributes about the individual or the staff.
And rather than put his staff on the defensive immediately by yelling about mistakes, a leader points out mistakes or challenges in an indirect way. Perhaps he even admits that he has made that mistake in the past as well, and he explains how he changed his behavior to make a correction. This approach would put the staff and the Leader on the same side, rather than on an opposing or argumentative side.
One of the most ignored Leadership principles is that of asking questions instead of giving direct orders. No one likes to be ordered. The principle of asking questions is actually an effective way of controlling a situation. The “question asker” is able to set the agenda. The “question asker” can guide the trajectory or direction of the conversation. In other words, a Leader asks questions and manages and directs the discussion.
A technique that is underutilized and often overlooked is to discuss the points on which you agree, and move to solutions of those on which you do not agree. Discuss situations openly. And if a subordinate has a solution, let him/her take credit. The solution is what you are after, not the credit for the solution. Imagine how much more dedicated a worker would be when he knows that praise is a result, not condemnation or rebuke.
Workers and staff members often know how to correct a problem before managers do. They know how to perform their work. They often know the effective solutions. What does a good Leader do? He talks to the staff, learns from the staff, and gives credit to the staff. If there is a problem, a Leader makes the problem easy to correct, and gives the staff the latitude to correct the course on the road of success. A Leader sets high standards, and encourages his staff to live up to those standards. And you know what? They usually do!
If you are a manager and a leader, project those principles that you would desire if you were a staff member. Listen to people. Give praise when it is deserved. Demand the best, and reward workers when they meet goals. And train, train, train.
The result? Your employees will go out of their way to make you look like a star.