how to develop a great manager

how to develop a great manager
Strong leaders are the future of any company, and poor leadership is one of the biggest reasons why employees leave. 

The 2016 Randstad Employer Branding Research revealed that 35% of the respondents in New Zealand said poor leadership is a reason to change employers. While, 34% of them indicate a strong relationship with their direct manager is a big factor to stay with their current employer.

what constitutes a “leader”?

A leader is anyone who influences staff to achieve a common goal within your company. This can be anyone from high-level managers to everyday supervisors. 

Leaders can also be in their infancy, and have the potential to become managers and supervisors in the future. These are usually people that other staff trust and respect.

Of course, there’s a question over whether or not you can “make” a leader or whether they are just “born” that way. 

There seems to be an argument for both. Some people have an innate sense of leadership and others can be developed into effective leadership with the right guidance and support. Studies have shown that effective leadership behaviour can be developed and even taught from scratch. By showing confidence in future leaders they will start to feel like a leader and even start to act like one.

fact: ‘Born leaders’ are a myth – leadership skills can be developed.

Further research has shown that good or bad experiences can affect leadership (good ones reinforcing leader identity, bad ones weakening it) also highlights the need for organisations to support leadership development. 

A 2016 Harvard Business Review’s study of 195 leaders from 15 countries reinforces this by showing that having high ethical and moral standards rated at the top of 74 leadership qualities. Other key behaviours future leaders need include:

  • Fairness – treating everyone equally and on merit, keeping promises.
  • Being positive – focusing on the right way of doing things rather than simply condemning the wrong way.
  • Listening to opinions, making decisions – even if the decision is to do nothing.
  • Appreciating that along with profit, social and corporate responsibilities are extremely important (the triple bottom line).
  • Leading by example – working harder and being more determined than anyone else, not being seen to rant and rave, breaking down barriers, encouraging people to relax.
  • Understanding the buck stops with them – taking responsibility for failings – and that the credit doesn’t rest with them, making sure plaudits are directed to their team and not themselves.

developing leadership skills

Leaders should always reflect your company brand and messaging. The modern employee is looking for a number of skills and qualities in a leader, including:

  • Relational - an open, communicative style of leadership
  • Values-based - ethical and authentic-style leadership
  • Contextual - a collaborative, no easy answers, changing style of leadership

While these styles vary a little, and work well for different organisations, there are a number of other skills that are central to leadership: 

  • Communication
  • Approachability
  • Flexibility
  • Individual consideration

The tone and style of leadership can also influence its success and ultimately dictate the culture and values of the company. This is especially true for small businesses. 

Bad leadership skills that can include simplistically, consensual or bullying will tend to be mirrored at all levels, and is something to avoid.

Remember, your leaders represent your company values, brand and how other potential employees see you, bad leaders make for a bad company. Help existing leaders to grow and retrain where needed to ensure your leaders are great brand ambassadors for your company values. 

Posted: Tuesday, 18 April 2017 - 9:00 AM