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The Don’ts for a Leader – From Manager to a Leader

Everyone looks for a leader in the manager and there are many opportunities for a manager to become a leader but before going there, it is imperative to become an effective manager first. And everyone tries to find the traits of what they want from their manager but they also know what the manager should not be.

• Be a Logical Critic – Critical evaluation of any activity is not undesirable but the important part is when and how to do it. Appreciate in public and criticize in person, that’s how a manager should look. And be very specific about it, don’t just focus on what was wrong, any resource would understand that much, what can be done to improve is what you should be talking or rather discussing with the resource. Most people just say ‘it’s wrong’ and try finding faults. Remember both positive and negative feedback is important but giving the feedback at the right time and right location is even more important.

• The Due Recognition – For a well performed activity, don’t just say we did it as a team (though that must be said upfront) but make sure the right person gets the credit. People tend to appreciate in a one-on-one discussion. If it’s really well deserved, make sure that it reaches the masses and doesn’t just remain isolated.

• What are your Skills? – Knowing the individual and team strength is what a manager should be looking at. This comes with the power of observation and past performance. How to shape the resource as a part of the team is the key to success for the manager. Making a team player is far more important than creating an individual brilliant resource. Individual brilliance can take a team to one point but after a point the team performance as a unit really matters.

• Is this an Organizational Decision or Mandate? – That’s something a resource does not really understand. Organizational goal is one thing and how to logically map it to the team and individual goal is a different ball game altogether. Understand that the organizational goals change overnight (sometimes) but that does not mean that you scrap everything and try to build it from ground zero. That would be demoralizing. Make sure that you allow the change to sink in, talk to the team; formalize a strategy; provide training and create a roadmap; make sure the team sees their growth path in the new regime.

• This is your Responsibility – Share the workload; be a team member first before becoming a manager. You have to be part of the team to understand the modus operandi. You have to know the reasons for failure or success by yourself as a manager rather than asking for explanations. Accountability may be for a team member but the manager is equally responsible for what happens.

• Can’t take care of your Aspirations – That’s a huge mistake; understanding a person is more important before making him work. Even the resource would agree that not all aspirations could be considered but a manager has to carve the path for the resource to achieve his or her goals and also ensure that the team/organizational goals are met invariably along with it.

• Forget the past incidents – Do not hold resentments. Every team has good and bad incidents; and arguments thereafter for sure, that’s human nature. But you as a manager should not keep that in mind and make decisions based on it. You should resolve any argument upfront rather than keeping it for a later time to be disclosed and discussed.

• Don’t try to be inspirational, just be inspirational. – The team is not looking for miracles from a manager but being participative, being involved and helping the team to grow really matters. And mind you, everyone would understand the difference between showing involvement and being involved actually. Leading from the front and making sure team members are taken along are imperative for any manager.

There are many do’s for a manager, which not every manager would be able to acquire but there are definitely some don’ts that the manager should be careful about. Become an effective manager first and then target being a leader.

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