15 March 2017

To improve your team’s chances of success, you must know the difference between leading and managing

We all know that it takes great leaders and human resources to grow a company and achieve sustainable success. Of course, because each individual is unique, business owners usually have varying approaches when it comes to running their company. As I’ve said several times before, there’s no standard formula for success in business, but with the right skills and attitude, no business goals are impossible.

I’ve worked with business owners as a Business Coach, and one of the things I’ve learned from my clients is that it’s very important to have an idea about what kind of business owner one is, especially when the business is still in its early stages. That way, you would know best how to influence your team and work hard towards the goal, instead of sticking to ways that for years you’ve thought to be effective but are really crippling your company’s true potential.

So what’s the difference between a leader and a manager?

To start, managers usually concentrate more on the execution aspect of things. In short, they work in the business. They’re involved in carrying out even the tiniest tasks in the team’s daily operations. Their routine always revolves around making quick and minor decisions.

By comparison, a real leader works on a persuasive vision and clear direction. Effective leaders simplify priorities and expectations, defining employee roles and making sure that the processes and capacity required for the team to execute are in place.

Being the leader of a productive team entails letting go of day-to-day procedures to focus on establishing a clear plan — the what and why of the business. A leader must be comfortable with leaving the team to carry out these plans. Some of the clients I’ve worked with were very accustomed to spending most of their time triaging crises, putting out fires and managing from a reactive perspective.

You need to be a leader, because how you lead will make a big difference in your employees’ job satisfaction. To influence your workers today, pay more attention to leading instead of managing. Here are some ways you can shift from everyday management to true leadership:

Be guided by your core values and business why

When your business core values are ingrained into your team’s daily work lives, it encourages more autonomous decision-making, which makes you a better leader. Your employees need to fully understand where the business is going and how they can contribute to its success. During meetings, inspire your team by talking about the big picture, and not just about short-term goals and daily musings. Share with them even your personal why, if you must. Remember, your goal is to make your team feel motivated by envisioning a goal for the company. That is the mark of a great leader.

Be a strategist, not a tactician

Managers are reactive. Managers find ways to resolve current problems by coming up with band-aid solutions and short-term fixes. They look at what’s going on, and respond by taking actions to mitigate situations.

By contrast, leaders are proactive. They don’t rely on tactics; they strategise. They forecast behaviors and look at trends. They see things in a bigger perspective, and they embrace the possibility of hitting bumps on the road. It’s much easier for them to inspire and motivate their team because they have a clear understanding of what’s going on and what’s about to happen. And because they rely on strategy instead of tactics, they don’t panic when a crisis arises, which gains them more respect from their employees.

Encourage feedback and listen attentively

When a business owner only has management skills but doesn’t exude effective leadership, he may find it hard to focus on people instead of processes and numbers. Because managers are so caught up in crunch time, they tend to neglect to look at things from different angles.

A true leader understands every dynamic there is to know about how the business runs. And because he trusts people and delegates tasks, he can’t help but take into account the opinions and sentiments of his team. He doesn’t just look at the numbers; he cares about what people think and feel while working in the business. A true leader listens, and he knows how to transform that feedback into things that can make the company a more effective and enjoyable workplace.

As a Business Coach, I can help you make the shift from being a manager to an effective leader. My extensive clientele consists of companies based in all of the Midlands including Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. Discover how REACH Business Coaching can help you grow your business by attending our free workshops and seminars.

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