How important is a good manager to you? How essential is a good leader? Simply looking back at your work history will give you the answers. Take a moment and think about all the managers you ever worked for. Right now, you’re probably digesting the good, bad, and awful leaders and managers that have crossed your path and made your jobs easier, better or crappy.
I was fortunate to have the right manager and leader when I began my corporate life. He was sharp, honest, fun, talented and not college educated. He didn’t have to be, as he possessed skills that would propel him and his teams forward to professional success. Bob knew how to lead, manage and educate. He had no formal training but possessed empathy, vision and drive. Plus, he could sell too! Here’s how he did it.
1) A natural listener
Bob would afford his sales team members the luxury of being heard. He’d listen without interrupting, analyze the situation and give advice/direction in a positive and cordial way. He leads by example, directed with heart and always focused on growing business and building relationships.
He knew instinctively that sales teams need to have a voice…employees need to have a voice. Later, when my leadership took me to manage teams of my own, I created an environment for my folks that fostered openness, listening and communicating. Empathy comes naturally for me and sales is in my blood. How about you?
2) Challenged without disrespecting
was also a key component of Bob’s skill set. He could drive you in the right direction, make you think BIGGER and force you to look within without being a jerk.
Man, I had 1-2 crappy managers after Bob, and they showed me what not to do as a leader including being short tempered and outright mean at times. They were egotistical, didn’t appear to care too much about me as a person (which was good as I didn’t feel right about letting them “in”) and preferred to have the accolades sent in their direction (see ego above.)
No worries. Thankfully, Bob had already educated me, groomed me for management and showed me how effective leaders manage people. Funny how our personal and professional lives intersect in a beautifully strong and understanding way when we take pause to understand the ‘good’ in good leadership. Is your manager taking the time necessary to help you grow? If not, are you prepared to ask for what you need?
3) Trust is everything of which we already understand
However, many leaders skip this essential fact. In our personal life, trust is the foundation that we build our relationships on. In business, the same is true.
From clients, to vendors. From employees and teams to individuals. Trust is the essential ingredient that we humans must feel to move forward. With trust comes action. With action comes achievements, failures and attempts.
Bob trusted me and had my back because he showed this time and time again. He understood that I too trust him. This gave us a strong bond that he also had with other members on his team. How is the relationship between you and your manager? Good? Great? Crappy?
A good manager/leader is essential in your professional life. We are a combination of our inner-self and a myriad of traits from those who we’ve come in contact with. Leadership skills are developed early in careers. And, if proof is the ultimate indicator, I followed in Bob’s footsteps. My teams enjoyed business success and economic growth, a safe and caring leader who listened, had their back and spoke with a human trait was trusting and respectful.
Are you poised to continue growing your leadership skills? Where does your ego fit into this? Are you ready to go to the next level in your leadership?