It’s pretty likely as a manager that you’re doing a lot of the right things. You’re helping people stay on track, you’re delegating tasks, you’re holding meetings and measuring and tracking goals. While those management functions are very important, they’re not what will really get people to go above and beyond. The good news is, to get people highly engaged, you won’t have to add a lot of activities to your day. You just need to make a two to three degree shift.
Leadership is about inspiring people to step up and take ownership. Tom Landry said it best, “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.” Focusing on tasks will help someone stay on track, but it won’t inspire them to want to do more. It won’t allow them to think and grow and become a leader themselves.
Take a few moments to jot down the tasks you do as a manager. Review those tasks and see how you can make a shift to create a leadership opportunity. For example, when you’re delegating, rather than looking at it as a way to get work off of your plate, think of it as a growth opportunity for the other person. When you’re preparing for the next staff meeting, consider how you will connect people to the vision, what questions will you ask them, how will you show that you are receptive? What can you do throughout the day to build trust? How can you connect and show your genuine investment in the people you serve?
By committing to shifting your activities to a leadership focus, you’ll become a leader overnight! But it doesn’t stop there. It will take awareness and practice to stay on track. Leadership isn’t a once in awhile thing – it’s a way of life.