Managers manage and leaders lead - so it has always been. But the problem for managers is that sometimes they need to use their leadership skills as well.
Working as a manager, and by having the title, implies that all you do is manage what is going on around you. As they say, ‘you can only manage people and not things', which is all well and good.
Yet good managers need to show at least some leadership skills as well, so that instead of picking up a series of tasks to ‘do’ each day, you are able to take a broader, longer term view as well.
But in recent years, control; processes; planning; rules; audits and more seem to have returned to the management culture after just a few enlightened years, as panic has set in over short-term profitability, at the expense of long-term cultural sustainability.
Now is the time for leadership elements to be revisited, in day-to-day management.
To simplify some of the skills that managers need to utilise from the leadership toolkit, here are ten ideas that will help with growth of longer-term performance, rather than mere survival.
- Look Forward
You can be more than getting through today. By taking a little time to see what you are aiming for and why, you will enable a better framework for progress and have to fire-fight less over time.
- Succession Plan
Once you have a better picture of where you are going you will be able to take a call on who you need and with what attributes. Then you can tell if you have the people you need - or not. And do something about it.
- Clear a Path
In a leadership role you make it easier for your people to do their jobs and get the work done effectively and efficiently. Different from managing and just expecting the tasks to be done, you pave a way through the myriad of calls upon your people's priorities to focus on the long term goals as well as the day job.
- Be an Influence
Your role becomes one where relationships are vital, both with your own people and those who directly impact on what they are striving for. You evolve excellent people skills by creating conversations where you listen, truly hear and take the actions you need to, with whoever and wherever you need to.
- Provide Resources
With a better vision for the future of your business or organisation, you can ‘get’ that investment above the short-term is really important, so as long as that investment of people; time; resources is truly long-term value-creating, you have the clout to take that risk.
- Do Less Doing
As a manager, you find it really easy to be part of the doing. Yet you have great people already. So to build on their skills you start to give them better training and support - and then get out of their way. Mistakes are OK - especially when learning comes from it.
- Utilise Team Strengths
If you are able to stand back a little from managing in the day job, you start to have the time to recognise where your round pegs are in square holes. Once you spot this, you can realign your people so that they work best where their strengths are. With everyone valuing each other for what they contribute.
- Challenge the Norm
With a better long-term vision for the future, you can truly see what is getting in the way of that achievement. You can raise questions up the management line which will make effort far more productive and focus on the outputs which are truly valuable and not remain in the historic.
- Develop Your People
With the future in mind and the possibilities for your key people to fill that need, you can create opportunities to expand capabilities, though broader experiences; training; new responsibilities; role rotation etc. Managers don't tend to do this, because they are short-term survival focused.
- Measure Against the Big Picture
Decision making become much easier because you have a clear future vision for your business or organisation (and even at team level). Every decision, big or small is measured against the longer term. And you are able to cultivate that characteristic in your people as you go.
Finally, Go with Your Gut, because leadership, encompassed within the day to day business you are involved in, gives you sensitivities which you can use.
By being clear in where you are going, you develop a sixth sense; a gut judgement about decisions which are aligned with goals. An invaluable tool which becomes second nature
Above all a manager recognising that there is another level to the day job, finds it hugely rewarding and developmental in itself. Building enthusiasm, commitment and focus into what can become mundane and boring.
A rejuvenated manager, using just a few leadership skills from time to time is a valuable asset.
Which won't do your career goals any harm at all either!
Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, http://www.coaching-businesses-to-success.com/
. . helping you, to help your people, to help your business grow. . .