The missing ingredient for managers is not their skill, ability, or education. Academic achievements and business success will get runs on the board, to a certain level. However, that is just half of the story.
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes: some are outgoing and charismatic, others are introverts shunning the limelight. One thing they have in common: they can all deal with people. They are able to get the best out of their people. They have worked out a way or they have learned effective people management.
Great managers are engaged; they inspire people, and they know where their people fit into the vision. The people have clear expectations of what they are to do and how it’s tied to the company’s success and their personal success. Effective managers know exactly how their business runs, and they manage it objectively and effectively; they’re involved tactically in business activities and arrival to see the larger picture.
Having clear expectations is a big step in achieving the teams’ goals, but they don’t guarantee performance. Great teams and companies have rules or a certain standard. They constantly reexamine and ask, “Is this standard appropriate? How’s it working? What adjustments do we need to make?” They innovate, quantify, and adapt accordingly. Failing forward is their mantra. They do not fail to dare, they dare to fail.
Great leaders have systems, scripts, and a way of doing things. They understand that a system and a process actually provides freedom and allows space to be creative.
Each week, great leaders sit down with their direct reports. They provide an open, nonjudgmental space in which to share what is on their teams’ minds. When giving feedback, it is clear—based in fact, allowing time for both parties to express their feelings, and the leader then prescribes a way to move forward, guiding the process. Importantly, great leaders listen and seek agreement before offering suggestions. People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Importantly, it’s been my observation that leads are not born, they are made. They have learned from home, sports, and failure. They all have a desire to do better, to achieve their personal bests. They have a never-ending desire to do their best and be better. They fail, and maybe fail more often than most, since they know that the road to success is paved with the stepping-stones of disappointment and what some call failure. The great leader is just inspired to pick herself up and move forward.