How Managers Can Think Like a Leader

How can you invest your time wisely to ‘think like a leader’? First understand, what makes a leader. Emotional intelligence is what sets great leaders apart from the rest and is important for jobs at all levels. A high IQ and technical ability are great skills to have, but emotional intelligence will help you monitor your feelings and of others around you.

Next, involve your team in becoming the kind of leader they want you to be. You strive to do the best you can, yet your team is disengaged? The reason is that we don’t truly understand what we’re doing wrong because we don’t ask our team. So, you could start by simply asking, “What’s the one thing you’d like me to stop doing?”

Research suggests that having strong work ethics and providing a trusting environment to the team are the most important competencies to be an effective leader. A leader with high ethical standards relays fairness, which helps instil confidence in the team and in turn builds a team where everyone honors the rules of the game.

Further, help your people develop. If you are only thinking about your success and not helping your team develop, you’re not management material. You need to be able to maximize your teams’ contribution to the firm, alongside keeping their development too in mind. The one thing that will set you apart as a great leader is when you ask yourself not just how you can get the best out of your team but how you can get the best out of your team while helping them grow. Loyalty manifests itself in different ways, and a sense of shared values is one of them – when your team knows that you are interested in their development, their commitment to you strengthens.

Moreover, strive to be more resilient. You need to build a sense of thriving and should be able spring back from difficult situations. Building resilience is the key to surviving in the face of ever-changing circumstances and high demands. Practicing mindfulness and developing mental agility are two ways by which you can boost your resilience. At the end, it’s about how you recharge, not just how you endure tough situations.

Lastly, as work gets more complex, take the time to pause amidst the chaos, untangle, learn from your experiences, and create meaning. At the end of a day spend a few moments to reflect on what you did and the lessons learnt from it. As Peter Drucker said: “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

The team at Actuate Business Consulting, a knowledge based management consulting firm in India, believes, that one should never stop learning – continuous learning is the best strategy to craft a sustainable career. Learning to learn isn’t just a decision; it’s a habit you need to inculcate. Disruptions in the modern economy, especially technological, don’t leave you with a choice except to stay on the top of your game. The skills you learn today may be irrelevant tomorrow, so unless you make a habit of learning, you’ll always be trying to catch up and will never be up-to-date. To think like a leader, managers have to constantly be in ‘learning mode’, invest in developing the people around him/her, strive to be resilient, and practice quite reflection.

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