Managers are expected to lead their teams, take responsibility for fixing issues and even make sacrifices in order to create value and show “leadership”. What does it mean to show “leadership”, though? Leaders are not just managers, they manage and lead. While a manager deals with the practicalities of getting things done in the most efficient manner (or the what and the how), a leader communicates why the work must be done. Whereas managers plan and coordinate, leaders inspire and motivate.
A manager administers while a leader creates conditions for innovation; a manager focuses on systems and processes to maintain the structure of the organization while a leader focuses on developing the people in the organization. A manager often works on short-range tactics, while it’s the job of a good leader to focus on the long-range perspective in order to create sustainability and legacy. Managers are under increasing pressure to grow into leaders and be able to fulfill expectations for both their managerial and leadership duties at the same time. They are expected to continuously prove their credibility by staying current and competent – and also be visionaries who inspire by modeling the way with integrity.
How can one person accomplish all this? There are two crucial ways. First, you must guarantee honest feedback channels for your continuous growth and development as a leader. Often the higher up one is promoted, the less real feedback they receive. True leaders solicit input and observations from others and create a culture that rewards straight talk. While common sense and research agrees that our leaders must demonstrate competence to do their job, a study found that after about the age of 40, most highly positioned men assumed they were doing fine and rarely requested feedback. On the other hand, women maintained the habit of asking for feedback and continued taking the appropriate actions for improvement.
Second, you cannot do it alone. This is the time of collaboration, partnerships and teams. Great leaders exhibit behaviors and attitudes that bring out the best and highest contributions of their employees. When broken down into specific leadership behaviors, a recent study concluded that women in leadership roles were rated at a significantly better at taking initiative (49.8% men versus 56.4 % women), their display of high integrity and honesty (49.9% men / 54.7% women), their drive for results (50.6% men / 55.2% women) and their ability to inspire and motivate others (51.6% men / 55.1% women).
Today’s modern companies thrive in a new economy where value is created by effectively turning the knowledge of its people into innovations that transform our thinking, and the ways we live and work. Those in leadership positions are no longer promoted just to maximize efficiency, but are placed to nurture, define and develop the skills and talents that inspire results. They also need to keep growing and learning themselves and develop their capacity to understand how to optimize their team members’ ways of thinking, knowledge and strengths while leading them to productivity. The true leaders keep their own hearts open so that they can touch the hearts of their people.
Article Author: Kristiina Hiukka is a Seattle-based professional leadership consultant, coach and trainer. She works with CEO’s who are ready to invest in women leaders in their companies. She specializes in up and coming CFO’s, CEO’s, and Management Teams. She believes in creating positivity driven performance cultures. She grooms leaders and facilitates teams at small companies as well as global organizations such as Microsoft, Nokia, and the American Red Cross. She founded Women in Innovation, a community and summit that convenes women leaders with Big Ideas. A native of Finland, Kristiina serves as Honorary Vice Consul of Finland for the State of Washington. Kristiina speaks on a variety of leadership topics connected to her passions: Leadership, Innovation, Collaboration, Communication, and Gender Intelligence kristiinahiukka.com. To get tips on Leading Smart and becoming the most effective leader in life and business Click Here
Be Smart About Your Leadership Intelligence – Kristiina Hiukka
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