To Lead or not to Lead?

At some point of your career you may ask yourself a question – Would I be a good Leader? To find out if you’ll fit into this role, you need to know the big picture behind the whole management process and going further to understand all the advantages and disadvantages related to the role of the Leader.

Let’s start with the brighter side of management process, advantages:

First of all being a Manager gives you a great opportunity to help developing other people. Starting from day one, you will be able to effectively support your team members. This means that you’ll have a significant power to help them grow in organization, guide them and what’s more important change their life. Sounds great? It is, what can be better than helping other?

However, together with that opportunity also responsibilities go.  Be careful with advices in cases which go beyond your personal experience. If you’re not CEO, you probably have your own boss which should be able to support you if needed. Other important thing is to help in development process when people want you to support them, try not to force anybody to change their life because you think that this will be best for them. You may cause more troubles than benefits and in worst case scenario your employee will start to look for a brighter future somewhere else. 

Second thing which is worth to mention when it comes to the role of Leader is motivation. Let’s focus only on positive motivation because in most of the cases this will be right path to follow. We don’t want to manage by fear – not that century, not that style.

To successfully motivate your employees, you’ll need to know them. Sounds simple but it’s not. You need to talk with your team members but the key to do it right is to really be interested in what they feel or think about their job. You need to know what problems they have and what’s even more important try to help in solving those problems.

In this process you should be honest and don’t fake anything because people are intelligent, they will figure out that you’re trying to convince them that you do care when in fact that’s not the case. If you don’t feel that at the beginning of your management journey let it go, focus on other aspects and probably at some point of time this will come. It’s like with negotiation skills, some people are born with that and some need to learn it from scratch.

Other thing which is not mention very often is a Vision. Being a Leader gives you opportunity to plan your actions and moves. You will need to find goals that you and your team will try to reach in specified period of time. This process is strictly connected with the Vision that all good Leaders should have.  Vision is the thing that will motivate you and your team to work effectively, it’s the common goal that you should be proud of. Where would be Amazon or SpaceX if Leaders who established those companies didn’t have Vision? It’s a bit different scale but process is exactly the same. Thinking about goals for your team and share it in the way that people will support you with achieving them is the best thing that can happen to you. Good vision can move the mountains.

Next thing are rewards. As a manager you’ll have many available options to reward your employees. First and the easiest way is of course money but believe me or not this is not always the best solution. Salary raise or some bonus will work but only for short term. Some time ago I heard that salary raise can motivate people only for first couple months. I’m starting to believe in it.

As a manager who will try to motivate team members, you’ll have a great opportunity to ask them directly what motivates them the most. You may be surprised how many people will tell you that they just want to be appreciated for the job they did or hear a few good words from their Leader. It just shows that at some point we may forget that maybe money is not the most important reward?

Last of the most important advantages that comes with being a manager is your development. Previously we focused on the Team but there is always a place to work on your skills. Things such as negotiation and communication, effective planning or process management will improve with every small experience or solved problem.

The more time you spend as a Leader the more you’ll be confident in making right decisions. Month after month you’ll face new challenges that before becoming a Leader you would not even think about.

As a Leader you’ll be responsible for things like health and safety of your team members. This aspect is not so interesting at first glance but please bear in mind that during 8 hours which people spend in the Office you need to be sure if they are safe. Any issues with hardware or facility equipment should be reported immediately to responsible employees. It’s very helpful to share such information with your Team. Going through this again and again on the meeting can be boring but this is a part of Leader’s role.

Other challenge relates to Conflicts and relationships between your Team members. If you’ll be lucky, you’ll manage the team where everyone will like each other but let’s consider a bit more pessimistic scenario. You found out that two of your subordinates have some kind of conflict with each other, it slowly affects whole team. Worst thing that you can do is try to wait until conflict will disappear by itself. First of all, talk separately with both sides of this conflict and try to resolve it. Next step if this wont help would be to meet with conflicted parties and act as a mediator. If this also won’t help you’ll need to consider getting involved someone from HR. Usually those people will have more experience in resolving such problems. The ultimate solution of such conflict may end in moving one of the employees to another Team.

Beside that there are subjects related with recruitment process, labour law or results management which should be also considered as a challenges that newly appointed Leader will have to face, but let’s keep those topics for a different discussion.

Based on what we touched you can see that this role has some great advantages and the same time we’re able to point out important responsibilities. Decision of becoming a Leader should be made based on full knowledge about the Role, I do hope that this will help a bit.

Is there a management Bible?

For those of you who start a fantastic journey in the Team Management world I have a good news – There is a Bible or maybe let’s call it a leadership guide. In my humble opinion this book is a great collection of knowledge and advice helpful for a fresh Leader during first months in the new role.

“Managing People. A Practical Guide for Line Managers” written by Michael Armstrong was the first book that one of my Professors recommended to me during my postgraduate studies. After a couple years since I bought it I must admit that it’s really helpful to come back to this book on regular basis, especially when some unusual situation happens.

What are the information that you may find helpful?

  • First of all the process of motivating employees. I think that we need to be aware of how important this part of of our job is. How positive motivation can help us in building strong and stable team and mostly how this affects people engagement and morale.
  • Second thing worth reading is recruitment process and how interview should look like. Another good example of how short conversation can influence your future results. This part will explain how important it is to be well prepared Recruiter and how the meeting should be lead. Believe me that for most of the Leaders this part should be regularly refreshed. Even from my friends I hear lots of stories about how not prepared recruiter discouraged them from choosing the company.
  • Last part that I really enjoyed was a chapter about manager’s responsibility for people development. I’ve already mentioned this in my previous post but this is the top priority on the list of things that you need to take care of. People will expect that you’ll support them in their growth and make everything that’s possible to open right doors for them. In this part author is also showing us how to manage training programs and how to analyse the results.
  • Other than that we can find information about delegating tasks, results management and one of the most difficult part – salaries management.

There are many books on the market that can help you on the first stage of you leadership career, this one was a huge help for me, therefore I thought that it would be good to share it. If you know any other titles that can be recommended feel free to use comment section.