Difference between leading and managing
Being a leader is not something you learn overnight. One of the most important things to learn is when to actually lead and when you should step aside and let your employees play a more active role. Many managers struggle with this concept. There are several reasons why this may occur, including:
- They do not make a distinction between leading and managing – There is a big difference between leading and managing. Managing means controlling a group to accomplish a goal. Leadership is a more abstract concept, including an individual’s ability to influence and motivate others towards success. It is important to make the distinction that influence and inspiration equals leadership, not power and control.
- They think that because they are in a leadership position, they must always lead – In many instances, managers were promoted because they are good at a specific job, but not necessarily at management. To compensate for this lack of managing experience, they think they must prove their leadership skills and end up over-leading and micromanaging.
- They cannot delegate effectively – In some cases, managers will attempt to do everything themselves instead of delegating, but there is usually more to get done than there are people to do it. This makes it easy for managers to put their hands in too many pots and not delegate tasks effectively. It is important that you realize that you cannot do everything. You need to use your valuable time wisely and not focus on every tiny detail. You must be able to recognize the talents each team member brings to the table and take full advantage of them to accomplish as much as possible together.
- They fear being overshadowed by their subordinates – Some managers are insecure. While every organization strives to hire the best people, not all managers are comfortable having smart and talented people reporting to them. Perhaps they feel threatened by them and, in return, try to keep them from advancing. In some cases, they struggle with letting people do things differently from the way they think it should be done. Both issues lead to paranoid managers. A manager should be able to see the talent and skill in an employee and, instead of hindering an employee help them foster it and use it to better the company. When this is achieved, it will reflect positively on them both.
While these fears are common, it is important for managers to know that there are many times when they should step aside and let the employees lead themselves. In fact, when a manager knows to step aside and let an employee go, he or she will often look the better for it.
How to Become a Better Leader
A great way to become a better leader and manager is to look at it as a coach/player relationship. As the manager, you are the coach and the employees you supervise are the players. Your job is to mentor them from the field but to stay on the sidelines when it is time to play. When watching a football game, you do not see the coach out on the field making the touchdown. Instead, he or she is on the sideline yelling plays and encouragement. Keep in mind that you do not need to micromanage or worry about your employees showing you up. Instead, hire the right people and move out of the way so you can, in the end, do more by doing less. Focus on the big picture and what is important, while letting the smaller tasks and details fall to your employees.
The team at Optimum Employer Solutions understand the distinction between managers and leaders. We offer a wide range of training for managers to help them understand this distinction and grow as leaders. If you want to help your managers learn how to be both great managers and leaders, contact the team at Optimum today to set up training.