Manager and leader are terms that don’t necessarily always go hand in hand. Although there’s no doubt the two are linked and often overlap, there are some important elements of leadership that the title of ‘manager’ just doesn’t cover.
From innovation to effective communication, a true leader is a step above the average manager, bringing an injection of motivation and insight into their role that not everyone has the ability to harness. Here are a few of the leadership skills you’ll need to stand out and lead your team to consistent long-term success:
Becoming a strong leader means mastering the art of communication. To reach the level of manager, you’ll have no doubt demonstrated some level of talent for this; but to set yourself apart as a leader, you need to make sure truly impactful communication is at the heart of everything you do.
Strong team leadership requires not just regular, but shrewd communication. While transparency on developments within the company is valuable for team morale and development, a lot can be said for possessing astute judgement about what you share to keep morale buoyed and your team driven towards success.
2. Approachability and Availability
As an integral part of your team, you need to be an ever present member of the team, a presence at the very heart of everything they do.
Depending on the demands of your job, there will always be instances when you're not physically around, but it's imperative your team knows you are available and approachable so they know they can come to you when it matters. Set up regular one-on-one’s and catch ups with your team, invest real time in their development and more than anything, nurture a culture of openness and approachability that fosters trust and respect throughout the team.
3. Showing Consistency
Everyone has their bad days - days when they feel tired, unmotivated, distracted or less than 100%. Apart from the true leader, of course.
Your team relies on you to be measured and consistent in your role. It means expressly setting a standard that your team can trust and lean on. That includes everything from the way you address disciplinary matters through to backing them up on internal issues. Your team needs to know that they can trust you and know what to expect from you to get the best out of their performance.
Your team will look to you to be the person who’s on the ball at all times.
From meetings to workloads and, team projects, you need to know what’s going on, who’s doing what and how to approach the next steps before anyone else does. Not only that, but if operations run smoothly and everyone knows their responsibilities, then you also need to create solid guidelines for others to follow. This then makes another key aspect of team leadership easier to introduce: delegation.
5. The Art of Delegation
Delegation is one of those tasks that anyone can do. But effective and impactful delegation is an art, and one that only the most effective team leaders can learn to master.
Delegating work doesn’t mean passing on the stuff you don't want to do - it's about lightening your own workload, making sure the right people are on with the right tasks and empowering team members at the same time. Becoming a leader at work means you have time pressures in other areas, so even if your natural inclination is to take on everything placed in front of you, it's just not possible, nor beneficial, to you or your team. By delegating new work to others, you give them the opportunity to expand their portfolio, gain new experiences and grow.
As you delegate, aim to lead from the front. By coaching others through new tasks and experiences, sharing opportunities within your team and working hard yourself, you’ll enhance your position as a true leader and help your team become more productive and effective along the way.
6. Confident and Knowledgeable
As a team leader, you need to command an impressive level of knowledge and, carry that off with confidence.
The two properties are linked - if you know your stuff when it comes to your industry, you'll feel confident in your performance and your expertise will influence your team. It goes without saying that any credible leader needs to be respected by his or her team; if that respect is missing, it can seriously hamper your chances of being a good team leader.
7. Innovate and Inspire
One of the key things that sets leaders apart from managers is the ability to innovate.
By bringing new ideas to processes and looking out for new ways to improve the way your team works, you lead by example and encourage others to find new ways to get tasks done. You’ll also inspire those around you to work harder and instil a practice of looking for constant improvement and development opportunities, the driving force of success.
Leadership may be very different from management, but it’s also something that can be learnt and developed over time. Set the foundations for an excellent future as a leader, or brush up on your skills with the right training course. Pareto offer a range of leadership training courses that can help you on your way to team management greatness.
For a more experienced manager, our Leadership and Management Training Course will equip you with the skills and strategic approaches to motivate and mentor you team. If you’ve got your eyes set on greatness, but are still starting off in your career, the Team Leader Level 3 Apprenticeship will build and develop on your natural attributes.