by Angie Morgan
You can lead without being a manager.
You can manage without being a leader.
Leadership is always a choice.
Choose to lead.
I’ve managed, I’ve led, and I’ve coached managers who’ve aspired to be stronger leaders. I can distill my experience and advice down to five simple things that I think every manager, at any stage of their career, can benefit from recommitting to in order to be a more effective leader in in either a hybrid or virtual space.
Stop doing. Start thinking.
When you get promoted to a managerial or supervisory position, it’s not only your job title that changes – you need to change. You need to stop doing the work and start inspiring the work to be performed among your team. You’re now a coach, a teacher, a thinker. Your greatest asset is your ability to translate your ideas into actions your team can take to drive results and achieve success. My guidance is to ensure you’ve got at least two, 2-hour blocks of quiet time in your calendar dedicated to you looking at the big picture, sharpening your mind, and imagining better ways to lead, engage, and develop your team.
Develop a Leadership Philosophy.
One of the greatest things I learned in the Marine Corps was the fundamentals of service-based leadership; these ideas were at the core of how I led. My philosophy was that my job was to serve those around me – it was on me to make my team better and more successful as a result of my leadership. A lot of managers lack a philosophy, so they struggle with how they can engage their teams. Spend time thinking about your philosophy on how you want to build your team in either a virtual or hybrid space – this is an important time investment to make in order for your team to feel like they’re part of something.
Get Some Rhythm.
This isn’t about dancing or playing a musical instrument. It’s about finding a predictable pattern that ensures you’re doing the things managers must do – hold team meetings, have 1:1 conversations, give routine performance updates, deliver feedback on an on-going and as needed basis. These are the disciplines of management and leadership. At the beginning of the pandemic, many of us were scattered as we struggled to hold our work and family lives together. Now that we’ve got a new normal, it presents a great time for you to find your rhythm, which helps give your team clear expectations about what they can expect from you as a manager and a leader.
Learn How to Coach.
I love watching live sporting events – they’re great leadership laboratories with a solid start and end time. I think we can all appreciate what a good coach does – they know their players, know their strengths, and give them useful, helpful feedback to help them achieve to their fullest potential. Also, when a player isn’t working with their system, they make a cut – that’s not always the easiest thing, but if it’s not working, and the player isn’t responding to coaching, then difficult decisions need to be made. You can’t make the cut, though, if you haven’t done the coaching. Hold yourself accountable to being a leader who exhausts all options before they let someone go. Your team, especially when they don’t see you on a day-to-day basis, deserves to know where they stand in regard to their performance at any given time.
Talk about the Future.
Many managers fail to see that they have a role and an opportunity to connect with their team members and help them achieve next-level success. As a manager, you need to know that your team members have unique, specific goals and aspirations that they’re striving toward. You can either help them or ignore them. If the latter, know that you run the risk of disengaging them. Please know: You can be your team’s hero if you help them level up.
One of the greatest opportunities we have in our life is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those around us. For the managers out there, don’t miss out on daily interactions that can enrich the lives of those looking to you to lead. Your role is both an honor and a privilege. Remind yourself each day that you’ve got a chance to lead. What a great responsibility!
About Angie Morgan
Angie is a proven leader, successful entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and a sought-after guide who helps others become the best leaders they know.
Angie will be the first to tell you, though, that she wasn’t born a leader. She became a leader after she graduated from the University of Michigan and earned her commission as a United States Marine Corps Officer, where she was one of only 1,000 women managers in an organization 175,000 strong. Angie endured some of the toughest training on earth to build her leadership and risk-taking skills, which she’s applied in her personal and professional life to achieve success. She’s the co-founder of Lead Star and her books are Leading from the Front, SPARK, and the recently published Bet on You: How to Win with Risk.