Lead by Managing and Manage by Leading

The recent HR Summit and Expo 2014 inspired me to look at both sides of the story when it comes to management and leadership. We all start somewhere and we all are being managed in one way or another. Good or bad experiences impact the way we work and the way we feel about the work we do. After all, people don’t leave organisations, they leave their managers. With a good experience of being managed by several types of managers, and some experience in managing people, here are 6 tips for managers out there, who think “I am the boss and there are only two opinions: right and mine”.

  1. We all do the things we want to. However, not everything we are assigned to do at work is what we really want to do. Different people have different objectives; some perform for recognition, some for the growth they want to achieve, some want to impress someone and some just want to take it easy and get their pay cheque by the end of the month. As a manager you have to understand what your team’s performance is driven by and to find the way to motivate them.
  2. Building the right team is the only way forward. Choosing the best people from the start will make it easier to perform, improve and excel. It is always a manager’s responsibility to choose the right person for the job. And it doesn’t only apply on hiring or selecting people to be part of your team, it  applies to what tasks you assign to within the team you already have, too. Understand strengths and weaknesses within your team and don’t expect a great result if you assigned the wrong task to the wrong team member.
  3. Be a Leader, not only a Manager. You motivated your team, you selected right people for the right job, what else? You have to guide. Nobody is a psychic, unless you are watching a lot of Chris Angel shows and believe otherwise. The best outcome is achieved when you offer proper guidance and explain well enough what needs to be done. The worst thing manager can do is to throw the task at your team without the guidance needed and show the frustration because results are not meeting your expectations. Regular trainings will also do the magic.
  4. Work on your ego and choose to be wise, not a coward. If you are determined to be the leader, you need to opt for the success of your team, not your only way to shine and be the best of the best.  Being a manager comes with a certain level of responsibility, it’s not your ticket to self-glorification. If you are scared that your team members will outshine you, you are doing it wrong, because if they perform well it is you who to thank, if they do not perform well, sadly it will be you who to blame. A good leader will inspire and celebrate the success of the team.
  5. Balancing the “carrot and stick” – behavior. Don’t become a workplace bully, but know the limit of your kindness. Remember what your work is as a manager. You are one of the links towards your company’s success, and you need to manage the expectations. There is a right way to reinforce your authority, and if you are doing all above mentioned, respect and self-conscious attitude towards assigned tasks to your team will come by default, no need to threaten or punish to get the results you expect.
  6. Last but not the least, don’t focus so hard on your people that you forget about yourself. Identify the areas in which you are weak and improve them. The fact that you are reading this blog post shows you understand the concept. Now you only need to put it into practice.