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Being a Manager Versus Being a Leader
What's the difference?
Effective management of a team requires a strong skillset. Schedules, budgets, deadlines, resources, etc. all need to be handled well. A great manager maximizes present value.
Effective leadership focuses on developing a sharing a vision for future success. It’s a different skillset in which the person needs to think beyond the upcoming deadlines and move the team or the company from where they are now to a better position. It requires “Big Picture” thinking, strong communication skills to inspire the team, effective mentoring and coaching to build skills and competencies, and enough strong will, focus, or drive to keep going over the long haul or when the plan hits a speed-bump.
These are different skillsets! This becomes obvious when we see someone who is good at one set of skills, but not the other—the manager who “keeps the wheels on” but can’t think beyond the next deadline, or the leader who gets people excited about the Big Idea but blows budgets and deadlines and forgets to do schedules or paperwork.
As leaders, we are most effective if we are strong in BOTH sets of skills. However, most people have “room for improvement” in some of these areas.
Figure out what you bring to the team—what are your strengths? Maximize the ways you can use the good stuff—do more of it! Consider where you have “areas for improvement,” and find ways to give your team what they need there, as well. If that means you make a conscious decision to work on it yourself, you can put specific items (“fill out timesheets” or “BD time”) as repeating events on your work calendar or get yourself some training in the skills you need to improve. That may solve the problem, but also consider that, as the leader, you need to make sure it gets done and done well, but you don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate!
Often, the most effective management teams have a charismatic, Big-Picture, likes-to-think-outside-the-box person partnering with a quieter person who has strong organizational skills. As long as they have mutual respect, it can be a recipe for success.