· High levels of employee engagement and retention
· High levels of performance across the whole organisation
· High growth
· Happy customers
· High profits
If you have never held a leadership position before, or you have never received the guidance to support your growth as a leader, how could you possibly know the difference between leading and managing? You don’t know what you don’t know, right?
Here’s a question to consider: How much of your time is spent working in the business and how much of your time is spent working on the business?
a. A manager working in the business is perceived by others as the authority figure, the one that needs to sign everything off and provide their stamp of approval. They struggle to get away from daily operations due to having a role to play in daily management of operations and people. They feel that they need to make the majority of the decision making due to the lack of skills and experience in the team. They think that if they have a day out of the office the whole thing will come tumbling down.
b. A leader working on the business is perceived by others as the visionary and the strategist. Always looking ahead, planning for the future and has a genuine interest in the growth and development of people in the organisation. They appreciate the need for structure and good systems. They can spend time in and out of the office freely because the management team are capable and take responsibility for daily management. They feel respected by the team and trust them to make the right decisions.
Let’s say, you’re a manager on the journey to becoming a leader, great, welcome to the club. Here’s a little secret for you, so are the majority of other CEO’s, Managing Directors and senior people in the manufacturing industry. They are all on the journey to becoming excellent leaders.
To make the transition from a manager to a leader will need you to change your ways and those changes will require new ways of thinking and new behaviours because if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. If we don’t change anything how can we expect something different to happen?
So, the best piece of advice at this stage would be, set your standards high and strive to be the best version of yourself you can be. Commit to the journey of learning about yourself and make excellence a habit. A true leader appreciates that they need to be the one that takes the leap of faith and go first, so start with you and begin to lead by example.
I believe that the following 12 keys habits will help you to make significant progress to becoming an excellent leader:
Inspirational – Be the visionary for your team and your manufacturing organisation and develop a character that inspires others to follow you. Show your passion for the organisation, the products and your people. Walk the talk. Create a personal presence that motivates other to want to succeed with you.
Aware – Grow beyond observing and reacting and learn to become more intuitive. Build a higher sense of awareness of yourself, your people and the manufacturing environment to allow you to anticipate problems before they arise. Be aware of your competitors and the market conditions. Be aware of the capabilities of your team. This will help you to understand your situation and choose responses that will provide the most effective results.
Focused – Master the art of personal productivity and focus on the task at hand. Notice distractions and allow yourself to maintain high levels of productivity.
Decisive – Make your decisions in a timely manner without procrastination or knee jerk reactions. Prioritise decisions, delegate and be the strategist for your manufacturing organisation.
Resilient – Commit to your goals. Commit to your team and do what you say you are going to do. Stay determined and push through the inner voice that is raising doubt in your mind.
Courageous – Be the first in your team to show vulnerability and the willingness to learn about yourself. Nobody is perfect, so, don’t hide from your problems. Having the confidence to show vulnerability with your team will open up the door to trust and good working relationships.
Optimistic – Always remain positive and maintain good spirits with your team. Being the motivated person in a tough situation will inspire your people to remain positive.
Authentic – Continually raise your levels of self-awareness, learn about yourself and work on improving your character. Learn about your strengths, your weaknesses, the way you think, the way you behave and the way you affect other people. You cannot be truly authentic until you know yourself.
Open – Be open and honest with your team and maintain a position of truth. Be open about who you are and your feelings. Be open to other people and their ideas. Be open to change and the possibility that you may not always have the answers.
Inclusive – Don’t underestimate the power of involving people. Be curious about people and your team. Work towards building a culture of coaching and co-creation. Develop a deep understanding of how to manage and maintain good working relationships. Be the leader that teaches and supports others in their own personal development journey. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Learner – Commit to being a lifelong learner and appreciate what it takes to learn and embed new behaviours. Listen to others and their feedback. Learn to empathise. Learn to be patient. Learn to recognise others contributions. Maintain a thirst for knowledge and learn.
Humorous – Maybe slightly controversial but who wants to go to work and have a miserable day? The key is timing and a sense of humour is a great quality when you get the timing right.
These are the 12 key habits that our members are developing each month to help them become more effective leaders of their manufacturing organisations. Our members appreciate that better quality of leadership will lead to high performance.
If you are on the journey to becoming an excellent leader and would like to join the Manufacturers Alliance please call 01204 410062 today or fill out the contact form to attend one of our taster sessions.
Learn from other members that are on the journey with you. Learn from our speakers that have been there before. Learn from our Chair People that want to support you and see you succeed.
This blog was written by Gary Sheader, Founder and Chairman of The Manufacturers Alliance.