Are you Boss or Leader – Check
Three signs that someone would be a good manager are:
1. They show empathy for their teammates
The role of leaders is to serve. That’s the most important lesson a new manager can learn. Managers must shift their focus from individual contributions to how they can multiply the productivity of their teams. As well as making them better, we want to support them. A good leader cares for his or her teammates. Those who consistently demonstrate that they are thinking of their teammates and helping them grow would make great servant leaders.
Leaders must be able to distinguish between sympathy and empathy
A Merriam-Webster dictionary defines empathy as ‘a feeling of carrying out what another person feels and thinking.’
Empathy involves going beyond tears of sorrow and is more lasting than sympathy. However, when we show empathy, it takes more time – Leaders should go the extra mile to understand what their team members are going through. The better they understand what they are going through (good or bad), the better they can support them.
When people feel supported, understood, and psychologically safe, they perform better at work.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie has a great deal of insight into empathy and how to put others first in building rapport and trust among coworkers.
2. They listen well
Have you ever met someone who couldn’t stop talking about themselves? For thirty minutes, you spoke, but never once did they ask you a question?
A good leader understands that listening is a vital component of leading effectively. If you do not listen well, you will not know what is wrong, you will misread situations, and you will not understand your team members.
Good listeners ask good questions.
An important part of this is the ability to ask effective questions. As a leader, you should be endlessly curious about your team.
Asking the right question at the right time can uncover the root of an issue, encourage a team member to open up, and help a team member become more productive rapport, or obtain valuable feedback you can use to improve as a leader.
Listening is magnified by questions. A conversation can go in any direction, or a follow-up question can help you better understand a situation.
Nevertheless, asking the right questions and being willing to listen aren’t the only things that make someone a good listener. Taking action is essential.
Action without talk is pointless and frustrating. Practice active listening by repeating back what you heard, and ask if they agree.
Next, it’s about taking notes and following through on what you heard, so that the person knows it was worth the effort to talk to you. In a manager-team member relationship, it is easy to forget to do this, but it makes a world of difference in how people feel about talking with you.
You can tell that a team member is a good listener and manager when they ask questions as much as they share their opinions and are careful to take notes and keep their promises.
Read Brian Grazer’s fascinating book, A Curious Mind, to learn more about the power of questions and curiosity as a tool for improvement.
3. They want to be a leader (not a boss)
This might seem obvious, but a great deal of what makes someone a good leader is their desire to be a manager in the first place (or not). A manager’s interest in the job and day-to-day tasks is more important than the title.
You are likely interested in the life of a leader (and you know what that means) if you:
- Making your team better through a multiplier mindset.
- Making effective communication and listening a priority
- Embrace a growth mindset and a desire to learn new skills to succeed as a leader
Choosing to do the work of a leader is not for everyone. The reason we discussed all the right and wrong reasons to be a manager today is because of this.
It’s easy to mistake the manager for “the boss”, but that won’t help you. Being a good manager is instead about serving your team and your mission. It takes a different kind of person (Leader) to do that.