How can managers become great leaders?

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    Des Squire

    Self serving Management 

    Bernard Bass’s (1989 & 1990) theory of leadership states there are three basic ways to explain how people become leaders. The first two explain the leadership development for a small number of people. The third is the most commonly used. These theories are

    • Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. This is the Trait Theory.

    • A crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion, which brings out extraordinary leadership qualities in an ordinary person. This is the Great Events Theory.

    • People can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills. This is the Transformational Leadership Theory and the one most widely accepted today.

      When people make decisions as to whether they like and respect you as a leader they do not think about your attributes. They observe what you do so as to learn about who you really are. This observation is used to establish if you are a honourable and trusted leader.  

      Alternatively it will establish if you are a self-serving person who misuses authority to look good. Self-serving leaders are not effective because employees only obey, they do not follow. They succeed in many areas because they present a good image to their seniors at the expense of their workers.

      What is being said above is true as many of today’s managers unfortunately fall into this category – they are self serving. Many fail to lead – they just manage. Many fail to lead by example – they believe others follow because they are the managers.

      Take for example the manager who fails to turn up for a scheduled training session believing he/she does not need to attend – they know it all. Take the manager who does not attend meeting because something more important crops up. Take the manager who works on his/her computer during training, or is continually on the cell phone answering SMS’s etc., – why – because he/she must be available to his department.

      These are all self serving managers full of their own importance. I feel managers who behave in this manner should not be managers – how do you feel? 

      What should managers (you) choose to do in order to become a great leader?  

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    Thokozani Absalom

    A manager can become a good leader by making simple changes to how he/ she manages the team daily. It is not rocket science! You just need the awareness, right training, desire and finally action (you can only learn leadership skills by doing) to improve as a manager.

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