As any boss knows, there is no simple strategy to become a great leader. Ultimately, a good manager must inspire and motivate others to deliver results, but how can you force them to follow suit? What personality traits and attributes do you need to win over people’s hearts and minds?
The most effective bosses have a wide range of management and leadership skills, ranging from self-awareness and resilience to emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills. That’s what Julian Birkinshaw and James Manktelow develop in their book Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss. Let’s look at some of the characteristics necessary to be a great boss.
1 know yourself
The path to becoming a great boss begins with knowing and managing yourself. We have all met leaders who can speak to a large group with conviction and authority, but are cold and impersonal when they speak to us individually. It is difficult to relate to these types of people. Instead, we are pleased with self-aware leaders who can admit to struggling with tough decisions. Everyone can relate to a boss who presents himself as human and fallible. After all, we all make mistakes.
So how can you better understand your personality and shape the way you manage others? A useful tool for understanding how you think and act is the OCEAN Personality Model, which encompasses openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, kindness, and neuroticism. Taking this test will show you if you are, for example, more likable than neurotic. If so, you can use this knowledge to tailor your management style.
2. Solve problems effectively.
Good managers know how and when to intervene. Sometimes a light touch is fine, while other situations require more involvement and problem-solving skills. There are common steps you can take, such as identifying the multiple causes of a problem and clearly mapping business processes to fix any flaws that may cause headaches for you and your team. Other approaches involve problem-solving by looking at what’s going well and areas for improvement, or bringing people together to tackle a specific problem.
Understanding the root cause of the problem is the starting point. While it’s easy to blame people for not doing their jobs properly, the underlying reason for a failure can often be traced to an organizational or procedural failure. At this point, you need to conduct a root cause analysis by putting together a team of people with the experience to solve the problem. Together they will define the problem, collect data to understand what is happening, identify the causes, and then recommend and test solutions.
3. Cope with change and stress.
How you handle setbacks will determine your effectiveness as a boss. We live in a rapidly changing world, where leaders have to change and adapt to face unexpected opportunities or challenges. Managing when times are good is relatively simple; It’s when things go wrong that you really see someone’s leadership qualities.
Some people have an inherent ability to handle change and stress, but most of us need to develop coping mechanisms over time. Leaders who remain calm and can think clearly in difficult circumstances are better equipped to navigate their team through a crisis. Resilience is the key. The ability to bounce back and achieve positive results when facing adversity comes from having clear goals, a positive attitude, skills and experience, self-confidence, and support from the people around you.
A sense of direction is also critical. You’ll feel more confident in making good decisions under pressure when you know where you and your team are headed. Train yourself to think positively, build a strong support network at home and in the office, and taking care of your body and mind are equally important.
4. Get the best of your team.
Team management is often described as an unnatural act, requiring people to behave in ways that are not easy for them. Managers are often promoted to higher positions after excelling in other roles. Leading others requires a completely different skill set – you have to be good at delegating projects to others, praising or critiquing people’s performance in a thoughtful way, and investing time in their personal development. Unsurprisingly, many bosses struggle with this transition.
If you want to get the best out of your team, effective delegation is perhaps the most important skill you need to develop. There are not enough hours in the day for you to do everything; This is why you have people around you to share the load, so use them. But don’t administer microloans, as employees find bosses who want to monitor every move to be annoying and demotivating. When delegating, be clear about who is responsible for each task or report.
Giving effective praise and recognition for things your employees do well is another way to maximize team performance. Everyone loves to be recognized for doing a good job, so make it standard practice to highlight team successes. It is also important to offer encouragement and support and to build the confidence of team members by setting clear goals and ensuring that they capitalize on their strengths.
5. Make smart decisions.
It is a fact of life that smart people sometimes make poor decisions. In 2000, Blockbuster executives decided not to buy the streaming-on-demand service Netflix for US $ 50 million (£ 36 million). Netflix has since eliminated the DVD rental company. How do you make sure you’re not responsible for making a terrible call? By applying techniques that provide information on the subject at hand.
Of course, you must first determine whether your decision makes financial sense. This means making a financial projection using Net Present Value analysis, before exploring and critiquing the logic behind your model. It is easy to convince yourself that their sales projections are valid, but it is much more difficult to interpret the devil’s advocate to really understand the assumptions built into their forecasts.
The next step is choosing which investment to pursue when presenting with more than one. Weigh all options, taking into account opportunities, risks, past experiences, market analysis, and ethical issues. Then consider everything that could go wrong before deciding if the investment is worth it.
And don’t do it all yourself. Multiple perspectives are vital to making tough decisions, so be sure to gather a diverse team of colleagues who are comfortable challenging you and who can push you to make a smart decision.