If you want to make the transition from a managing a team to leading a team, but you’re finding it difficult to get the buy-in from those you’re meant to be leading – here are some concepts to apply to your leadership style to help you become a more effective leader…
Managing a team can often seem to be about reinforcing and ensuring compliance with the policies and procedures of an organisation; where there is a relentless chase and emphasis on achieving your own, your team’s, and the company’s key performance indicators. During this process managers and team members alike can often feel dis-empowered and resentful that they are just another cog in a wheel – and regardless of their efforts they may not feel appreciated or valued.
Many of us progress to management because we’ve done a good job, we’ve shown that we are capable of growing professionally; and we have displayed the attributes required to manage a team. So now you’re a manager – you’ve got the new business card, the pay-rise and a new position description that tells you what (and who) you’re supposed to manage. But once you get your feet under your new desk, you notice there is not much guidance or support about how you are supposed to manage a team successfully. If you’re lucky you will have a manager who can mentor you, or maybe someone else in the company is able to fulfill this role. But if not – what then?
The single biggest difference between and manager and a leader; is that a successful leader will take a multi-dimensional approach of what will deliver the best outcomes for the business, its staff, its shareholders, its suppliers, its customers, and the community in which it operates. The successful leader is not obsessed with just profits (at any cost), or getting that next contract (at any cost), or driving down supplier prices (at any cost) – instead they appreciate the total context of their business within their community and know that if the business operates in an holistic manner and is successful – then their staff, shareholders, suppliers, customers and the community will all benefit as a whole.
Successful leaders usually have very strong personal ethics and values which they bring into the business. These ethics and values help form the culture of the business and usually their senior management team is selected based on their personal alignment with the same ethics and values. Good leadership is therefore about example – you are seen to be walking the talk and providing support to your team to be able to realise their best potential. Often leaders say they hire people ‘better than I am’ – as they know their own limitations and seek to ensure they have a team comprising all the skills and attributes necessary for success. How many managers do you know who recruit people who won’t challenge their authority, or act in a way which goes against your own personal ethics and values - who would you rather work for?
So how do you get the buy-in from your new team? Firstly I’m assuming you were a colleague who acted with integrity and who already has the trust of their team. Now you are their manager, their leader; so now you have the power to directly influence their future in the business; this one aspect alone significantly changes the dynamics of the team. They are probably watching you very closely to see what sort of manager you’ll become, some may be coy about showing their hand too soon, and others might change their approach to you immediately… Whatever your team’s reaction – one thing is certain – the dynamics have changed and it is now up to you to both communicate and demonstrate your leadership style.
Managing your own, and your team’s performance requires you to be impartial, fair and aware… Impartial so as to not to show favourites within the team; fair in that you treat everyone equally and fairly; and aware of the bigger picture and what private agendas might be at play.
If you want some help to become a more effective leader, give me a call!