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How to Change from a Manager to a Leader in 5 Steps

How to Change from a Manager to a Leader in 5 Steps
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Being a manager may earn you a salary. You may work in a large corporation as a manager, or you may simply be stuck in a managerial position in your business. Either way, you’re going to get some steady returns. But the truth is, managers maintain – they don’t create growth.

Being a leader will fulfil your vision. In essence, a manager is a person who controls and administrates a group of people, whereas a leader literally leads a group towards his or her vision. By definition, leading is ‘a route of means of access to a particular place or in a particular direction.’ – They inspire and motivate their followers or team to share and fulfil their vision.

So, which is it: controlling, or leading? I’m sure the more ambitious of you would choose  to lead. If you have a dream you wish to achieve, here’s 5 steps on how to change from a manager to a leader to make it happen:

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  1. Have a vision

Managers control a team within the confines of short term goals. They are given a quota to follow and focus on what can be done in a certain space of time. It’s a very controlled environment. Leaders, on the other hand, have a long-term vision, and they boost the morale and productivity of their team by inspiring them with their vision.

They venture into the unknown and stay one step ahead to continue to make progress. If you want to start a business, or already have one but lack direction, make sure you create a vision in your mind of what your end goal is. Do you want to impact your local community, or do you want to change the world? Do you want to build a 6-figure business or a billion dollar business?

Whatever it is, make sure your goal is big enough and meaningful enough to you that it will drive you forward throughout the process. Once you have the vision, it will be far easier to guide a group of people in achieving it.

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  1. Outsource and automate right away

If you’re leading a project, you don’t have time to waste doing the menial work like administration. That’s what managers do. Stay up to date with the workings of your business, but ensure it maintains itself through automation and employees. A lot of admin work can be done efficiently online nowadays – you can hire virtual assistants or use automation software to do the time consuming low leverage work.

I’d recommend hiring an admin assistant of some sort to track finances, journal progress and write reports. Any task that is maintaining the business but not growing it should never be done by the leader.

  1. Build a team of like-minded and skilled individuals

Once you’ve outsourced the basic stuff, it’s time to supplement your knowledge and skills through other people. Leaders are interdependent; they know that a team can achieve far more than an individual. They’re also self-aware; they know their weaknesses so they hire people to supplement this.

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My advice is to find people who are motivated by the same things as you. Say your business is a marketing agency: You’ve got to find people who are passionate about online growth or you’ve lost at the first hurdle. If your team share your vision, they will be self-motivated to work hard and get good results because they want to fulfil the vision as much as you do.

  1. Communication

Secondary to being the driving force, the leader’s job is to motivate his or her team, and to inspire a team to work on their own initiative. Firstly, you should have a mission statement and a list of core values that everyone understands, believes in and follows. It’s gotta be simple and self-explanatory – something that every team member believes in: Uber’s mission statement is ‘Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone.’

Your core values are what you stand for. For example, one of the marketing agency’s values could be to ‘prioritise providing value to the consumer over generating leads.’ Whatever they are, your whole team should believe in them. If they do, they will follow them and every action they take will work towards the vision and not against it like employees under an authoritarian manager may do.

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Remember that as a leader, you are interdependent. Your team is equal to you in how hard they work and what they believe in. The only different is that you are the innovator. They follow, but they should work on their own initiative and not simply work on a transactional basis – managers tell their employees what to do, the employee does it, and they repeat this process for every task. The point of hiring skilled and like-minded people is that they don’t need to be babysat. A strong team work together on a vision but are also independent in their skills and ideas.

  1. Challenge the status quo, make the calls, innovate!

As mentioned above, the only difference between you and your team is that you are the driving force. As a leader, you’ll eventually get to the point where you have managers below you. They follow your vision and your values – because managers follow the status quo.

But as the leader, you’ve got to be curious and challenge convention in order to innovate and ultimately grow. Never settle for what you may think is already true – be open to new ideas and take risks that could potentially work out better than what you’re currently doing. Innovation is about trying new methods and using your imagination. So never stop innovating, because if you do, you stop growing.

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Managing and leading go hand in hand, but I hope you can see now that there are some fundamental changes that need to be acted upon if you wish to lead a team rather than manage one. It starts with taking yourself out of the operational side of your business. A leader is a driving force, so to be one, you must constantly push forward and make sure you create a team environment that will move forward with you.

Featured photo credit: Martin Barraud via fthmb.tqn.com

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Ollie Coombes

Entrepreneur

How to Change from a Manager to a Leader in 5 Steps

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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