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How Managers Can Become More Effective Leaders

A new report from Gallup identifies seven leadership traits found among managers of high performing teams, and offers tips for how to develop these skills.

Shifting demands in the economy and the workforce can mean it’s no longer enough for managers to serve as just “supervisors,” or to simply carry out leadership directives—they instead need to take on more leadership responsibilities themselves. But many companies are falling short investing in their managers to make sure they’re up to that task. 

That’s according to a new report from Gallup, written by Vibhas Ratanjee, a senior practice expert on organizational and leadership development. The brief focuses on private sector companies, but some of the lessons can surely be applied to public sector organizations in state and local government as well.

Based on findings from a study of more than 550 job roles and 360 job competencies, Gallup identifies seven leadership traits usually found among managers who create successful, high-performing teams in thriving organizations. These include:

  1. Building relationships: Establishing connections with others to build trust, share ideas and accomplish work.
  2. Developing others: Helping team members become more effective through developing their strengths, setting clear expectations, providing encouragement and coaching.
  3. Driving change: Setting goals for change and leading efforts to adapt work that aligns with a stated vision.
  4. Inspiring others: Leveraging positivity, vision, confidence and recognition to influence performance and motivate workers to meet challenges.
  5. Thinking critically: Seeking information, critically evaluating it, and applying the knowledge gained to solve problems.
  6. Communicating clearly: Listening, sharing information concisely and with purpose, and being open to hearing opinions.
  7. Creating accountability: Identifying the consequences of actions and holding themselves and others responsible for performance.

“Managers need these skills to lead their teams now and in the future when they will lead your organization,” Ratanjee writes. He goes on to recommend ways that employers can help their managers to develop the seven traits.

One is defining and recognizing “leadership moments.” Gallup defines these moments as “an act of customer centricity that protects the brand from reputational dangers, perhaps, or an innovative process and systems overhaul that creates a cost advantage.” 

Another way to help managers down the path is to invest in early “leadership experiences,” such as mentorship or “cross-functional” projects that push them beyond their routine duties.

When employers create thriving workplaces, it can help to boost productivity and solve employee retention issues, according to another recent report by Gallup.

For more on the latest Gallup report click here.