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This article was published on August 10, 2013

Being a manager doesn’t make you a leader

Being a manager doesn’t make you a leader
Ilya Pozin
Story by

Ilya Pozin

Ilya Pozin is a serial entrepreneur, writer, and investor. He is the founder of Internet TV platform Pluto TV, digital marketing agency Copl Ilya Pozin is a serial entrepreneur, writer, and investor. He is the founder of Internet TV platform Pluto TV, digital marketing agency Coplex, and social greeting card company Open Me (acquired by Rowl). Named one of Inc.’s ‘30 Under 30’ entrepreneurs, Ilya also has columns appearing on Forbes, Inc., and LinkedIn

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Ilya Pozin, the founder of Ciplex, and a columnist on entrepreneurship and marketing.

It’s a myth that managers and leaders are the same thing.

While every leader may not be a manager, every manager should be a leader. A manager who lacks effective leadership traits will drive a business into the ground faster than you can count to 10.

Going from manager to leader isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes time and energy to improve the way you manage and utilize more leadership characteristics on a daily basis.

Here are some statements to lead by:

Managers give answers, leaders ask questions.

Shouting orders at your staff will turn them against you. Instead, ask your employees this: “What would you do?” or “What do you think of this idea?”

By allowing people to participate in the decision-making process, you’ll transform what could have been an order into something more easily swallowed. This type of questioning will also inspire creativity, motivation, and autonomy in your staff.

Managers criticize mistakes, leaders call attention to mistakes indirectly.

Pointing out your employees’ mistakes directly will only leave them feeling embarrassed and frustrated. Effective leaders give their employees the chance to learn and grow letting them address their mistakes themselves.

For example, say a project was sent to a client and you receive a disgruntled message in return. Calmly ask your employee about the clients’ concern and whether they feel what was provided was on par. This gives them a chance to provide input and understand what needs to be improved for the future.

Managers rarely praise, leaders reward even the smallest improvement.

Praise is a must when it comes to effective leadership. Finding time to recognize your employees for even the smallest accomplishment will only increase their interest in what they do. Providing regular feedback and recognition is certain to show your employees you genuinely appreciate their efforts.

Managers focus on the bad, leaders emphasize the good.

This really comes down to seeing the cup half empty or half full. Only tuning into the flaws of a project or an employee doesn’t leave room for learning or improvement. Become a stronger leader by creating a sandwich effect: Start with some form of praise, follow with the criticism, and end with praise.

Managers want credit, leaders credit their teams.

Poor managers are always the first to take credit for positive praise; effective leaders understand the importance of crediting their team for the big wins. This pays off in the long run by establishing a more positive company culture where employees are driven toward more successes as a team.

Management shouldn’t be approach through force, but rather through influence. Start improving your management style by injecting more leadership into it.

As a manager, do you ask questions instead of giving answers?

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