Adjusting your management style can take both you and your team into uncharted waters. Your team may be skeptical of the changes, and you may feel uncertain and or even defensive about the change. With a clear goal in mind and willingness to communicate with and accept feedback from your team, however, you can adjust your management style to improve your leadership.
Management vs. Leadership: What’s the Difference?
Managers are responsible for keeping a team on-task. They assess the overall goal and methods, assign work to specific team members, supervise the process and ensure the results meet the company’s standards. Forecasting, budgeting, planning and controlling are all part of a manager’s workload.
Leaders may also manage, or they may not. A leader’s job is to provide vision. Leaders ensure their team understands and shares a core mission. They elicit team members’ expertise to ensure the team heads in the right direction to fulfill its mission, and they encourage creativity and flexibility as key tools in achieving the “big picture.”
How to Become a Better Leader by Changing Your Management Style
- Practice good listening skills. Managers do a great deal of talking: giving instructions, explaining details, providing feedback. Leaders try to balance talking with listening: taking the opportunity to let team members express their “on the ground” view of a task, the biggest challenges they perceive and their questions about how to get the work done. When you treat team members as the “resident experts” at their own jobs, you empower them to find more effective ways to get the work done.
- Communicate more, not less. Communication fosters transparency, confidence and trust on your team. By making it possible for team members to communicate with one another and with you – and by setting a standard that expects communication – you clarify what you expect from the team, what resources they have available to get the job done and what success looks like.
- Ask for help when you need it. Alerting your team to your goals and efforts prepares them for uncertainties and equips them to help you by providing constructive feedback. For added support from an experienced professional, don’t hesitate to turn to a mentor – or to pick up the phone and talk to your staffing partner.