Leadership – A Focus on Management Behaviors

Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2015 by Romar Learning Solutions
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In an earlier post, we examined Steward Leaders, which we defined as leaders who drive results through responsible oversight, protection, care, and development of their teams. In this post, we will delve deeper into management behaviors an effective leader must master.

If the goals of leadership are to drive results and create an engaging environment for the team, then the behaviors the leader demonstrates are foundational to achieving these two goals.

Let’s start by examining leadership and management individually. In First, Break All the Rules, Marcus Buckingham says that management includes the activities a leader does one-on-one with direct reports to get them to their full personal potential. He then says leadership is what the leader does with the entire team to drive achievement of the team’s mission. Therefore, to be successful, a leader needs to be both a good manager and a good leader.

In Good to Great, Jim Collins says that the best leaders he interviewed were what he termed "Level 5 Leaders"—leaders who focused on achieving something significant and demonstrated humility. However, what people often don’t mention when talking about Collins’ Level 5 Leader are Levels 1 through 4, which concern mastering management fundamentals.

Management skills form the foundation of good leadership. Great management involves executing fundamental behaviors that help direct reports achieve their full potential. Great leadership involves inspiring a team to accomplish extraordinary results through specific behaviors.

Effective leadership involves:

  1. Communicating as a manager – A manager’s ability to facilitate productive communication with his or her direct reports and colleagues one on one is essential to being an effective manager.
  2. Recruiting high performers – One of the most important decisions a manager makes is hiring a team member. The new hire needs to fit the organization culturally, needs to be truly excited about the work, and needs to have demonstrated success in a similar job function in the past.
  3. Clarifying expectations – Establishing realistic, challenging expectations with direct reports is the foundation of management. Assuming that direct reports know what good looks and sounds like in their assignments is a recipe for poor performance or even failure.
  4. Coaching – Effective coaching improves a manager’s capability to develop direct reports’ skills, knowledge, and behaviors to achieve high performance. Coaching is a behavior that all managers would agree is important, but only the good ones actually implement it routinely with their direct reports.
  5. Building a plan – Effective managers set goals jointly with direct reports and then help them achieve those goals by providing resources and developmental opportunities. They also monitor direct reports’ progress and hold them accountable for their progress, providing guidance and feedback as they work toward achieving their goals.

For your consideration: What other one-on-one behaviors should managers demonstrate to get their direct reports to their full potential?

Let us know what you think—we want to hear from you.