Win at Work: 5 Ways to Be a Better Leader Than Your Manager

Win at Work: 5 Ways to Be a Better Leader Than Your Manager
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 13 May, 2022

Are you feeling stuck at work? Perhaps you are in a role where you answer to a higher-up, such as a manager or a supervisor, whose leadership style does not work for you. Or you are tasked to head a particular project with other colleagues under your leadership. Either way, you will have to deal with new personalities and workplace dynamics to get the job done — and that involves being a leader.

You do not have to be a manager to showcase leadership skills. Regardless of their job level, high-performing employees exhibit leadership qualities, such as showing initiative and being intrinsically motivated to do their jobs.

What does it mean to be intrinsically motivated? Having intrinsic motivation is described as “the psychological force that generates complex processes of goal-directed thoughts and behaviours.” Being intrinsically motivated means having the internal desire to perform well at work and causing you to lead initiatives.

This attitude can guarantee meaningful results at work. It also helps you create a more positive working environment for those who work with you, in addition to enjoying the workplace yourself.

Why Are Leadership Skills Necessary, Even If You Are Not a Manager?

The workplace continues to evolve — the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly ushered changes at work, followed by digital disruptions. These shifts show that roles have had to adapt to the new times, and employees need to wear new hats. As younger generations join the workforce, they are the likeliest to be the most agile and flexible with the new work dynamic, even suggesting new and innovative processes that they believe can help the team and the company.

That said, there are times when proactivity can be a double-edged sword, as the Harvard Business Review writes. It can happen, as in the case of senior management executives or co-workers working with younger colleagues, who they might expect to work in the ways and traditions of the company.

Generational differences can create friction and communication gaps in the workplace, leading younger employees to feel unmotivated and uninspired. The result can be a lack of productivity, subpar results, and a high turnover rate.

Younger workforce members, such as millennial and Gen Z workers are driven by other values, qualities, and traits that mould their passion and purpose at work. Whether you are a project lead or an employee who simply wants to do better, skillfully navigating these emotional aspects and showcasing emotional intelligence can already help you get the job done, thus succeeding at work.

Read on to learn more about showcasing leadership, getting the results you want, and showcasing empathy for others, even if you are not a manager.

How to Be an Effective Leader, Regardless of Your Job Level

Avoid being a pushover.

It is possible to be kind and exert authority at the same time. Being nice does not equate to being a pushover. Sometimes, being a pushover is a function of showing that you empathise with another person’s troubles — yet sometimes, this niceness can set you up for being taken advantage of so that other colleagues underperform.

When you feel that your co-worker is crossing the line, do not be afraid to call them out with honesty. Reiterate the fact that your working relationship is built on trust. Make them realise again that you trust them to get their work done. Also, give sufficient notices if they need to change their schedules.

Hold your teammates accountable for deadlines.

Perhaps one of the most challenging tasks as a project leader is to ensure that everyone on your team can meet their deadlines as agreed. Feel free to ask your teammates about their preferred deadlines to get particular tasks done (while negotiating whenever appropriate), and write them down somewhere so you can hold them accountable for their responsibilities as soon as time’s up.

When you get them to agree on a specific date to turn over certain tasks, there is no reason for you not to chase them and hold them accountable if they were unable to submit the work.

Motivate them based on the team’s shared goals.

Rather than instil fear or intimidation among your colleagues, gather them to unite and agree on shared team goals. Keep them in the loop and ensure that they understand how their tasks contribute to the team’s short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. This will better guide them towards the decisions they need to make and the next steps to complete tasks and effectively perform their responsibilities.

Refrain from micro-managing your team

For some people, leading or supervising a team without micro-managing is easier said than done. That said, it is essential to know the difference between being an effective leader versus micro-managing every single one of your colleagues’ tasks. Micro-managing is defined as being deeply involved in other co-workers’ tasks and criticising them constantly. You are there every step of the way without providing room to breathe or autonomy. This can result in poor motivation, retention, and results. While micro-managers dictate action and specific steps to take, leaders provide their teammates with the liberty to pursue different directions on their own accord, as long as they are inspired towards a common goal.

Exchange feedback with your colleagues.

Managers usually provide feedback and coaching to colleagues to help them improve in their jobs, whether for underperforming employees or overachievers. While you do not necessarily need to have a formal review system in place, encourage open feedback and honest communication with your teammates. This means providing them with an honest and safe space for them to air out their issues as well as build trust and security.

Exchanging feedback also means that you are — and should — be open to receiving comments and points for improvement.

Above all, these tips should help you stand out from the office, take charge, and show initiative to get meaningful results from your colleagues. They can assist you in continually producing steady but excellent results and help you envision longer-term plans in the workplace. Just working night after night with no end in sight will not maintain your motivation – the drive to succeed must be kept high with active thoughts and actions.

However, when you think your burnout is from a need to switch careers, then #LetsGetToWork ! Use JobStreet to find a role that will give you a sense of purpose and motivation. Update your JobStreet profile, so prospective employers know you’re ready to work immediately.

For more expert advice on maintaining high spirits in the workplace, enhancing productivity, and climbing up the career ladder, visit the Career Resources page. You can also download JobStreet’s nifty app available on the App Store and Google Play.

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