Being in leadership requires a certain skill set coupled with balance. It showcases one’s ability to problem solve and it even demands that you take care of others before you tend to yourself. Who knew that there was a difference between leading and managing? My titles were Department Manager, Customer Service Manager, Store Manager, Financial Center Manager, etc, so I assumed that I was a manager. I didn’t consider myself a leader until I realized the difference between the two.
Leaders focus on people, seek risk, and have a transformational style which allows people to grow, ultimately becoming better individuals. Managers, however, focus on work; they seek comfort, and have a transactional, authoritarian style. My experience in leadership has taught me that I have to balance my managerial skills as well as my leadership skills in order to be effective. There is a performance expectation and a people perspective that effective leaders should never lose sight of. Effective leaders should:
1. Be ethical-leaders should maintain confidentiality and have integrity. Anyone who works with you and for you should be able to trust you.
2. Dare to be different-leaders should be courageous enough to be true to who they are, even when it isn’t popular to do so. I love technology, but I don’t believe that text language is appropriate in a professional communication exchange. The expectation for my team is professional communication and proper grammar usage when communicating electronically. I as a leader should not give them permission to create habits of communicating ineffectively in the workplace.
3. Have compassion and passion-leaders should care about people as well as the business. As a leader, one must have enthusiasm for their role and the organization. I love to see others grow in their careers because of my passion for it. Leaders who don’t feel this way about their roles probably shouldn’t be in leadership.
4. Be effective coaches-leaders meet people where they are and enhance their performance in the process. My teams were comprised of exceptional performers, average performers, and those who needed improvement. My role was to assist each performer, regardless of their performance, and help them attain the next level of greatness.
5. Have fun- leaders should be able to create a professional, stress-free environment for their teams. What a great way to relieve tension, defuse hostility, and possibly retain talent; having fun while working.