There aren't many managers that say being a leader is simple. It makes a lot of sense because there are so many important things they are responsible for.
It starts with building great relationships, connecting their team to a deep purpose, having a vision, setting clear standards, holding others accountable, and being a strong coach just to name a few.
Even though leadership isn't easy, managers often have to remember one important lesson. In a recent book, Trillion Dollar Coach about Bill Campbell a famous Silicon Valley Executive and former Apple Board Members, coauthor Eric Schmidt wrote this lesson he learned from Campbell:
Your title makes you a manager, your people make you a leader.
An intense focus on your people will make all the difference. One of the best ways to show your people they are appreciated is through your words.
Here are some things your team needs to hear from you to make it a reality:
The simplest thing you can do is say "thank you." Often "thank you" has become something we say as a reflex versus really meaning it. Make your thank you specific to team members who meet the standards you have set. When you do it will be much more powerful.
It can be done in a variety of ways such as a handwritten note, in person or even over text. The thought you put into your "thank you" will say more than the two words alone.
People have three basic needs, they need to feel liked, important and appreciated. Bill Campbell knew this and would tell his mentees, "Everyone is human and wants to feel appreciated. It's not always for the money it's about the love."
So often we assume people know how we feel, but actually saying, "I appreciate you." will ensure people know.
The amount of work each team member puts in on a daily basis feels like it's double over just ten years ago. Your team is doing the work and putting in effort that most people aren't willing to put in. They get to the office early, leave late, and blend work-life balance that goes well beyond what most people think is acceptable. This can't go seemingly unnoticed or unrecognized.
Take the time to notice their effort and actions. Your words are not only powerful but needed. You will be shocked at how this simple phrase makes your people feel good.
There are "stars" of the team and there are the people that make the team work. Often times, we reward those whose behavior directly ties to revenue for the business. We make a huge deal if a sales contract is signed or a new product is created, but we often forget the people behind the scenes who keep the team running. It could be an assistant, a reserve bench player, an operations person, or someone in Human Resources.
There are so many people that keep your team running and effective and it's not just the sales department. Use these powerful words, "You are the glue, that makes our team effective" to let people on the front lines know you care and value them.
People often look for greener pastures simply because they don't understand how important they are to the team. By telling someone that you wouldn't be what you are today (or what you will be in the future) without them is a huge confidence boost and will keep them from taking those all too often calls from recruiters.
Whether you make leadership more complicated than it needs to be or not, remind yourself of these basic phrases and it will go a long way on your journey to become more than just a manager.
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.