Being a leader sounds exciting while being a manager sounds boring. Not many wish to be someone who spends the entire day hovering over workers, but most wish to lead the troop.
The problem is either-or doesn’t work if you wish to lead your organization towards the path of success. But the million dollar question is – when do you lead and when do you manage?
As people, we all need leaders, whether it is the head of a family, the leader of a religious sect or the president of our country. We look up to leaders who set an example with their high level of ethics to guide us in uncertain times. But, we also need managers to execute the strategies made by the leaders.
In business, leaders empower employees by providing them with the needed direction in understanding their role and executing strategies.
The role of a manager is all about execution, they are the foundation pillar of any organization. A manager ensures their team is kept on task and is provided with all the needed information and tools to execute that task. Motivating the employees, reviewing their performance and keeping the operations smoothly running also falls under the role of a manager.
As an owner of a small business, as I am, you need to be both, a leader and a manager. The trick is in determining when your employees need you to lead and when to manage.
To Be Or Not To Be – Lead Or Manage?
Balancing is a tough job, but then, so is being a leader or a manager. Handling the day-to-day operations without getting caught up in the activities and not losing sight of the long-term goal becomes difficult at times, but it is those times and situations that add to my growth and I try to come out as a better learner.
Confused? Once you take up the double role of managing operations and leading people you’ll get a sense of what I’m saying here 😉
Till then, here are my practical tips that will help you with the balancing act –
1. COMMUNICATE YOUR VISION
Effective leadership begins with clear communication. Your employees need to know what your vision, no matter long-term or short, is for the organization. They need to know
- Where do they stand?
- What you expect out of them?
- How can they get there?
As a leader, communicate your vision and as a manager ensure to back it up with strategies and measurable steps to guide your team reach there.
2. LET GO – REMEMBER YOUR ROLE
As a tech manager, it sometimes becomes inevitable for me to let go and that hampers my role as a leader. Although I delegate the responsibilities and give team members the direction, I sometimes don’t let go of the ownership of the task. Where I need to step aside and lead, I tend to get in and manage the task my way.
After a lot of hard work from my side and patience from my team members, I now delegate work and let go and only when the team members call for help do I guide first and if needed manage.
Practice makes a man perfect, and do you know what they say about women…they are born perfect 😉
3. SEEK COMMITMENT, NOT COMPLIANCE
A good manager gets employees to do what they’re supposed to do but a leader helps people to truly commit to their work, get them to do more because they want to, not because they have to.
4. LISTEN; ENGAGE; MENTOR
The best way to balance being a manager and a leader is to listen to your people and guide them where they need it. Encourage engagement from your employees by sharing your business goals and achievements. Aid them in their professional and if needed personal development.
5. DO THE RIGHT THING
Always, do the right thing. Whatever you do should be right by yourself, your employees, your customer, your organization.
It’s not an easy task, but it’s what makes a people’s manager in a true sense.
Would love to know what role do you enjoy playing more – a manager or a leader and when needed how do you balance being both?