Are you leading, managing or just coping? Is a question that anyone who has to manage and motivate a team might do well to ask themselves.

Over the next few blogs I want to look at the keys to being able to Lead or Manage effectively.  If we do not have the necessary skills then we will just be coping, and we won’t be properly managing and leading our team to excel in business.

I have often marvelled at the night’s sleep that newly promoted managers must have the day they were made a manager.  It must have been amazing because they went home, slept, and then started the next day knowing everything there was about being a manager!

I know that is only a joke, but the truth is that businesses must believe it, as they put a person into a position of responsibility without any training.  All of us are novices until we learn how to be a manager or leader.

Leading takes skill

As you can imagine without training, the manager has to fall back on any role models they learned from, or observing other managers, or some of their own instincts.  However, I only became the manager I am today due to the training I received.  I was able to train and coach my staff, give them the same type of training I received, and it resulted in developing 55 managers for the multinational I was working for at the time.  Leaving sixteen years ago to become a fulltime trainer, coach and mentor I have been passing on that knowledge through training courses, seminars, one to ones, writing blogs and articles for key publications like Testify.

Developing the Leader Within You – Part One

To start this series, we need to understand the difference between leading and managing. We call someone a Leader, when in reality a person in leadership is both a leader and a manager.  There are times when you will lead the team, setting direction and purpose, being the role model to follow, motivating and enthusing them to apply their best efforts to the task.  There are other times when we have to “manage” the process required to achieve the task.  Only in Churches do we have designated title of “Leader”.  In companies the two highest positions are either the Chief Executive or the Managing Director.  Both set the direction but are also involved in managing the delivery.

Building a high performing team

As the head of a team of people it is your responsibility to develop a high performing team and to do that there are some key essentials that must be in place:

Know where your going and why

First everyone needs to know their purpose. What they are aiming for and trying to achieve.  What are the goals.  Why are they aiming for them and what is the outcome going to achieve and has it been communicated to all.

Give them the authority to act

The team must be empowered to act, but at present you may not be in a position to empower everyone in the team. Until we can, the team is not giving an optimal performance.  All the teams at work, or in our church, or ministry, are only as good as the weakest link, so a manager’s primary role is to build the knowledge and ability of all team members until there are no weak links.

Great Communication is required

There needs to be good communication between the team members and if there is strife or argument, then the team has not reached a level of maturity to be classed as “high performing”. Therefore, it is the leader’s role to deal with the issues and help them overcome their problems to be able to knit them together as a coherent team.

Catch them doing it right

A high performing team flourishes on praise and recognition it receives from the management, the customers, and their peers. It is a manager’s duty to catch them doing it right, rather than only highlighting their mistakes.

What is the level of morale?

There should be a good level of morale in the team. Alexander Leighton said that “morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common goal.  As with point one you have to have set the goals, but after that the team with good morale will do everything they can to reach them.

More skills to come

Whilst understanding what makes a high performing team is crucial, the knowledge alone will not build the team.  The most essential aspects, which will be explored in future blogs will cover what it will take to develop the team to fulfil the role and to deliver a consistent and optimal performance.


The second part of this blog is now available click here