Many have heard the saying, “anyone can be a manager, but not everyone can be a leader.” But what does this really mean? Is there a major difference between a traditional manager and someone who is described as a leader? The simple answer is, yes. While anyone in a management or supervising position is technically a leader, not everyone in these positions hold true leadership qualities and skills. Forbes contributor Ashira Prossack says, “Think of leadership as next level management. The best leaders take their expert management skills and combine them with people skills to become well rounded and highly successful.” A good leader makes it a point to create strong relationships with their team while offering support and fostering employee development. To become the best leader you can be, consider some of these essential leadership elements.

Easily Adaptable

A great leader is always prepared for changes within their organization or industry. They hold the ability to think rationally and quickly when decisions need to be made. Additionally, their main focus is keeping their team looped in with changes or decisions. Without micromanaging, a good leader is able to give his or her employees the ability to make appropriate decisions on their own, while still offering support or insight if needed. This provides their team with the freedom to excel, and the opportunity to grow within their position.

Strong Communication

Communication is key when it comes to running a business or leading a team. A manager that demonstrates positive leadership skills is often a master communicator, and can adapt their communication style depending on the circumstance or who they’re interacting with. They are able to listen carefully to the needs of their team and advise them accordingly.  

Leading, Not Directing

One of the main, and most important qualities of a positive leader is their ability to coach and teach, rather than direct or dictate. There is a strong understanding of how to foster team development and contribute to individual employee growth. Rather than dictating daily tasks, a good leader will give their team members the room to decide how they work best. In the event a team member is struggling, a good leader will offer support and coach the employee in ways they can improve their work process.

Mutual Respect  

Respect in the workplace is extremely important to the culture and environment of a company. However, respect is not one-sided, and should be practiced by both team members and those in a management role. Limit micromanaging, and show your team you trust them to make the right decisions; this is a sure-fire way to show them you trust their abilities and respect them as professionals. Your team will recognize this, and reciprocate that trust and respect by not only keeping you informed on tasks at hand, but also coming to you directly for questions or support.