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Smart Moves - Managers & Leaders

- effective qualities of Leaders & Managers

Leadership and the ability to manage are not positions. One is not ranked higher than another. Both aptitudes are needed to be effective for growth in any organization. We asked several business owners, community organization leaders, educators and top-level managers to share their thoughts on the qualities a person should have in order to be a good leader or manager - and what they thought has helped them improve their leadership skills. Here are the answers from four.

What are the qualities of a good manager?
A good manager continually reassesses what IS and what IS NOT working. This should be measured in terms of profitability as well as efficiency. If there is a function that gets repeated continually, perhaps there is a way to automate that function so as to decrease expenditures.
What are the qualities of a good leader?
A good leader always cares about the personal and professional growth of staff.  If one’s employees feel that they are not valued then they will not be happy. A good leader needs to continuously identify opportunities that staff can take advantage of. If they don’t take you up on them, at least they feel as if they matter to the company.
How have you improved your own management and leadership skills?
As a small business owner and manager, I am continuously reading and staying informed about changes in the law and how to motivate employees.  By being thoroughly informed in my area of business as a Criminal Defense and Immigration attorney, I am able to update my staff so that they can more readily communicate legal procedures and terminology in a manner than can be easily understood by our clients.
Felipe N. Merino
Merino Law Firm, P.C.

What are the qualities of a good manager?
I have found that in order for me to manage my team I have to first understand what is going on in their lives and understand what motivates them. Each person has unique circumstances and personalities that drive the way they look at sales and customer service. So the first step is that I have to take time to get to know my team members.
What are the qualities of a good leader?
There are different types of leaders. One is a demanding micro managing leader. The other is a servant humble leader, reward based leadership, and the leader that lets each employee make their own decisions.
According to Larry C. Spears, former president of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, these are the 10 most important characteristics of servant leaders:
1. Listening
2. Empathy
3. Healing
4. Awareness
5. Persuasion
6. Conceptualization
7. Foresight
8. Stewardship
9. Commitment to the growth of people
10. Building community
This is a great example of what I strive to be as a leader in my office and in the community. I am a part of the team and I stress that to my staff. I am no different than they are; I just have different roles in the office. As we work as a team all of our opinions matter. Confrontation and correction come easier when you have that relationship built and they know by your action and words that you care for them as a person - not just for their job performance.
How have you improved your own management and leadership skills?
I am constantly learning: whether it’s in my industry, personal growth or enhancing my leadership skills through reading, seminars and reflecting on circumstances. I find I can learn the best from my mistakes when I take the time to discover what I could have done differently.
Lisa Yoder
State Farm Insurance

What are the qualities of a good manager?
I believe the heart of strong management is responsibility. Management is where the buck stops. Strong managers make commitments and deliver. I call that being On Target. On Time. On Budget.
What are the qualities of a good leader?
I think a good leader has to be relevant to the people in a particular situation. A great leader in one situation may be lousy in another. A good leader needs to be able to put themselves in the shoes of those they are leading while not becoming paralyzed by it. From there they need to be able to read the situation, put things in perspective and offer ideas, solutions, values or whatever is needed. 
How have you improved your own management and leadership skills?
Management and leadership are both team concepts. It’s one thing to be a solo performer. It’s quite another to run with a pack and win as a team; especially when the team is made up from people across multiple organizations. I’ve had to learn how to slow down, explain myself more clearly and most importantly to listen and not prematurely judge others and situations. There are three things that have helped me a ton: 
1. I created multi-company collaborations with other firms like TaigMarks and others. 
2. I went through Rick Horn’s Growth Coach program. 

3. I have asked for feedback from clients and leaders that are more experienced and skillful than I am. I’m definitely a work in progress. Going forward, I’m looking for opportunities to mentor others. I’ve always found myself learning the most when I try to teach or guide others.
Chad Root, Associate AIA, 
Certified ONTRAPORT Consultant
Spearhead Sales and Marketing

What are the qualities of a good manager? 
A good “manager” of a sports team is a coach with a winning record.  A good manager of a for-profit or not-for-profit uses resources, both human and other assets, to accomplish organization goals.  In either case, good managers get good outcomes.
What are the qualities of a good leader?
While good “leaders” and “managers” both get good outcomes from their efforts and those of coworkers, leadership, to me, implies movement or change.  Either of these are hard for people and so a good leader is able to persuade us to think and do things differently.  This requires vision of how to make things better, effective communication skills to convince us to follow, and the courage to lead.
How have you improved your own management and leadership skills? 
I try to get better at what I do through continuously learning, listening to those who disagree with me and those I trust, working hard, and trying to make good decisions. I try to focus on what I’m best at and recruit leaders to work with me whose skills and knowledge complement mine.
Robert Ducoffe
Dean and Professor of Marketing
Judd Leighton School of Business 
and Economics
Indiana University South Bend

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