One can always stir up great conversation when asked the question, “What’s the difference between a manager and a leader?”
I’ve asked that question to many people, and heard a lot of responses: “A manager tells you what to do, and a leader shows you what to do,” or, “A manager is a boss and a leader is a coach.”
In my opinion, the difference is that a manager is responsible for the day-to-day complexities that live inside of an organization, and a leader drives change. Managers and leaders are both required for a company’s success.
In this series, home improvement industry leader Brian Gottlieb will share quick tips and must-knows for home improvement business owners. In this fifth episode of Mentoring Minute, Gottlieb talks what it takes to be a good manager:
Often you have to change hats as the business owner. Some days you have to be a manager, other days you have to be a leader.
The day-to-day complexities, systems, and processes have to be followed inside of a company. At the same time, companies need to be inspired and to grow, and growth takes change—and that takes leadership.
Who you hire and promote within an organization will eventually become the organization. It’s key to ensure your managers know what it takes to be great at their jobs—and a good checklist will help. I promise that if you run these behaviors through your organization, your managers will soar.
1. A great manager must be a great coach. When I say a great coach, I mean they must help people with current performance as well as future development. Coaches help with future performance, such as creating performance improvement plans.
2. A great manager empowers the team and does not micromanage.
3. A great manager creates an inclusive team environment where they show concern for the success and well-being of everyone.
4. A great manager is productive and results-oriented.
They know their numbers, KPIs, and they drive their business to meet and exceed goals.
5. A great manager is a great communicator.
In our industry, it’s very common to have silos inside of our organization between marketing, sales, and production. Great managers are great communicators not just with their team, but across different divisions.
6. A great manager supports career development.
Managers use performance improvement plans and performance reviews as one of the most important tools. The more your team knows how they’re performing overall, the more that individuals will know how they’re performing. That leads to better team performance.
7. A great manager also has a clear vision and strategy for the team.
A manager needs to create a strategy and vision for his or her team. It’s like a roadmap: if nobody knows where we’re going, how do we know if we’ve even gotten there? A vision statement is forward-looking. It asks, “What do you want your team to look like in five years?” A manager creates that vision and holds the team accountable for it.
8. A great manager has the key technical skills to help them advise their team.
Now, that doesn’t mean managers have to be an expert in the mechanical side, but should they read the right books to be great managers? Absolutely.
9. A great manager breaks down silos by collaborating across divisions and units.
10. A great manager is a strong decision maker.
It’s not that your manager should never be wrong. It’s okay if they are. It’s okay if they make a mistake. It’s okay to be wrong—just don’t be wrong for long.
Plug those 10 behaviors of a great manager into your business, and your business will succeed.