Great leaders are known for their visionary approach to long term goal setting and problem solving, and they have a way of inspiring others and rallying them to a higher level of energy and engagement. Great managers, on the other hand, are known for their ability to place foundations under these long term visions and plans. Managers know how to execute tasks and bring projects to fruition with effective budgeting, scheduling, and resource allocation. They know how match the right person with the right task, and they know how to intervene just enough to encourage a given employee and not enough to get in the way.
These positive qualities are generally considered compatible and symbiotic, but it’s not easy to find both sets of traits in a single person. If you’re standing at the helm of a small operation and both tasks fall to you –and nobody else—you’ll have to handle the challenges of both. And there’s no reason why you can’t be brilliant on both counts. Keep these considerations in mind.
1. Feed off the energy of your teams and vice versa.
When your inner manager is full effect and your leader is nowhere to be found, pause. Before you pick your teams apart, nay-say their ideas, and try to apply nuts and bolts practicality to every situation, listen to what they’re really saying. Let them play the visionary role for a moment, and allow yourself to be inspired by them instead of the other way around. At the same time, when your inner leader is taking center stage and the nuts and bolts are falling by the wayside, let your teams build and test their own solutions. They may rise to the challenge in ways you don’t expect.
2. Ask questions.
Be humble. Listen. Ask questions, learn, and show curiosity regarding the events and people around you. If you think you know it all, try to win every argument, or try to prove that you’re the smartest person in the room, you’ll only be hurting yourself (and your company). Every day, fragile, brittle egos ruin career trajectories and undermine otherwise successful companies. Don’t let this happen to yours. You’re in charge, but that doesn’t mean you’re smarter or harder working than anyone else. And it certainly doesn’t mean you can run this place on your own.
3. Be good at being a person.
Great leaders and great managers start by doing everything they can to be good (as in effective) people. Do you understand your own priorities and can you list them? Do you know the areas of your own character that need a little work? Are you able to put yourself in another person’s position? Do you have the courage it takes to say no to a request or to correct errant behavior? And do you have the discipline and wisdom it takes to do the same things for yourself?
For more information on how to take the wheel of your organization as both an inspiring leader and an effective manager, contact the staffing and business management experts at CSS.