Effective Leaders Must also be Effective People-Managers

The individual who is an effective people-leader has an established structure of people-management objectives, processes and best practices to insure they lead, manage, inspire and develop each of their team members. Effective leaders intentionally craft and hone vital people development habits, including unmistakably identifying their goals and objectives with each team member and discovering a way to help each one move forward and achieve their full potential.

The hallmark of the leader’s success is the degree to which they have helped their team members grow through improving their performance. For a leader to do this, it is essential that they understand and consistently apply certain principles and practices:

Effective leaders have a clear vision of expectations. Leaders must think very specifically about the expectations they have of each team member and his or her role. Making these individual expectations clear to each member is a vital part of being an effective leader. If a leader is fuzzy in their own thinking, they can’t possibly expect to help their team members fully understand or comprehend what is expected of them. This requires thoughtful consideration of each person’s attitudes, skills, knowledge, and other vital qualities in addition to exactly what level of performance they can reasonable hold their team members accountable for.  

Effective leaders make their expectations clear. It can be a helpful habit to identify the various aspects of the individual team member’s role and discuss each during formal performance interviews. The clearer the leader’s expectations can be made to their individual team members, the greater likelihood those expectations will be met and even exceeded.

Effective leaders ensure team members know that their work has value. Beginning with clear and regular communication of the ministry or organization’s purpose, and then helping each team member see how their specific role fits into the overall scheme, helps workers acquire an accurate sense of the importance and value of their individual work. Everyone is relying on them to do their job well, and when they fail, everyone feels it in some way. The worker that understands this will be far more motivated to seek to do their best every day.

Effective leaders get to know each team member. This bonding develops a foundation of mutual respect that helps the leader better understand and appreciate his or her individual team members, as well as causes the team member to not want to disappoint or let their leader down.  

Effective leaders set goals for the team and for each team member. Ensuring team members clearly understand the leader’s short- and long-term goals for both the organization and themselves is a key factor in gaining their long term buy-in. This can be done effectively when a leader helps the individual team member know where they are now and where they will be going next. The more detailed and specific, the better.

Effective leaders have frequent one-on-one performance interviews. Many leaders tend to view regular performance reviews with more dread than enthusiasm, but in reality they offer strategic opportunities to clearly demonstrate to their team members that their leader is genuinely interested in their work, as well to help nurture individual performance and growth.

Effective leaders show interest in each person’s work output. Savvy leaders train themselves to notice good work and verbally recognize it. For most people, it is easy to notice and focus on the negative and miss seeing someone’s extra effort or positive attitude. Praise is a powerful motivator for team members, and it helps them display positive attitudes, behaviors and achievements. It is best to celebrate spontaneously, even on the spot, as well as during more formal occasions. Whatever the format, make sure it is genuine and as appropriate and meaningful as possible.

Effective leaders have high expectations. Not every team member will perform equally, but each one can experience improvement. Never treat a team member as a loser; this will be a certain de-motivator, plus it is disrespectful. Even when a team member is underperforming, give them something to achieve. Success breeds success and encourages self confidence and job satisfaction. 

(People Management—Tips on Effective People Management by Kate Tammenagi)  

adapted by Gary D. Foster
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Gary D. Foster founded and leads Gary D. Foster Consulting, a marketing and management service specializing in helping religious product companies and ministries discover and optimize new revenue streams and to better leverage existing ones. He served as an executive with Focus on the Family, where he managed their award-winning book publishing operation and $110 million direct-mail fundraising division. He also spent 12 years with the Christian Booksellers Association, where he served as President and CEO of CBA Service Corporation. He also served in executive product development and marketing positions with Cook Communications Ministries, Moody Press and Moody Magazine. Learn more about Gary at www.GaryDFoster.com.