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How Becoming a Manager Is Different From Becoming a Leader

How Becoming a Manager Is Different From Becoming a Leader

If you’ve held a job, you have probably noticed that there are bosses, and there are leaders.

Bosses are like Bill Lumbergh from Office Space. They are capable of delegating tasks, and they can meet their supervisors’ expectations, but they often fail to inspire their subordinates. Employees don’t want to work for bosses – they listen because they must.

When a true leader is in charge, their influence is far-reaching. Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs are examples of leaders who have created a lasting impact through their work.

Tension Between Managing and Leading

Whether you are stepping into a supervisory position, or you are interested in improving your leadership skills, it is essential to understand the difference between bosses and leaders. When a managerial title is conferred, all the expectations about the relationship between managers and employees are also transferred to the supervisor. Companies would not be able to function if this ideology about the chain of command didn’t exist. This structure combined with pressure to execute company imperatives creates titular managers who may or may not hold the respect of the people whom they supervise. Insecure title-holders appear unresponsive to employee needs, resort to micromanagement, and leave a wave of discontent in their wake.

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Effective leadership is critical for employee satisfaction. When employees have a solid rapport with their supervisors, they are happier and more productive. They view their work as a collaboration between themselves and their superiors, and they become more dedicated to producing positive outcomes for the company. Workers who spend less time being miserable can spend more time contributing to the organization.

The Cost of Ineffective Leaders: Quitting of Talented Employees

According to a 2015 Gallup study,[1] 50% of survey participants left their jobs because they didn’t have a good relationship with their managers. Embodying the qualities of a strong leader is essential for increasing employee retention. High employee turnover rates are costly [2] for companies, and they can have a negative impact on workplace culture.

John Maxwell [3] identifies five levels of leadership [4]: Position, Permission, Production, People Development, and Pinnacle. Position, the first level, is granted with a management title. The next stage, Permission, is marked when employees willingly follow their manager because they respect them. Maxwell notes that most managers can attain the first two levels of his model.

At the Production stage, managers become leaders. They produce measurable results, and people follow them because of their track record. At the People Development level, leaders support the next generation of supervisors by investing in their employees. At this stage, leaders realize that a company is only as great as its human assets. To reach the Pinnacle phase, leaders spend years cultivating success to create a lasting legacy within their organization.

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Leading Isn’t a Position, It’s a Journey

Becoming a true leader is a years-long, and in some cases, a lifelong pursuit. Set your sights on reaching the Pinnacle stage, but know that you don’t have to be a leadership expert on day one. Experience, effort, humility,[5] and eagerness to improve will contribute to your development as a leader.

Plan and execute like a leader.

To take your leadership skills to the next level, you’ll need to study what makes a good leader. The Leadership Performance Wheel [6]models ways in which managers can transition from being title-holders to influencers.

    According to this framework, an effective supervisor must be able to consider the company’s values, his or her personal vision, the organization’s vision, employee engagement, team development, and organizational effectiveness while serving in a leadership capacity.

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    Develop not only your own skills, but also others’.

    Don’t be afraid to seek out the mentorship of superiors that you respect. Remember that People Development is the fourth stage of Maxwell’s model. Leaders that you look up to should be actively working toward the goal of reproducing their leadership success by developing the skills of others.

    Be an active listener.

    Pay attention to what employees say, and note the subtext of their communication. People feel more valued when they know that you are willing to listen. By truly hearing workers, you will gain important insights into what you’ll need to do to inspire confidence and build rapport with employees.

    Give constructive feedback and receive feedback too.

    Employees like to know how they are doing. When workers receive constructive feedback, it can improve their overall job satisfaction[7] and the quality of their outputs.

    Good leaders know that leadership involves getting as well as giving feedback. Provide opportunities for employees to evaluate your performance. One-on-one discussions, team meetings, and anonymous surveys can offer avenues for employees to communicate their thoughts to you. Provide multiple means for receiving feedback, since you’ll likely learn different types of information from each one.

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    State the “why” all the times.

    Simon Sinek states, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Stay grounded in your vision and explain your why to others. Helping employees understand your vision is essential for becoming a leader rather than just a supervisor.

    To Lead is to Serve

    Effective leaders do not come to their positions ready-made. They commit the process of developing their skills through consistent effort and praxis. Genuine leaders know that they are at the service of the companies for which they work as well as the people whom they supervise. They are willing to set aside their egos for the sake of improvement, and they believe that they can enact positive change.

    True leaders operate from a position of authority, but instead of towering over their employees, they connect and collaborate with them.

    Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

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    Angelina Phebus

    Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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    Last Updated on January 6, 2021

    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

    Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

    In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

    For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

    For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

    Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

    Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

    Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

    How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

    1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

    Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

    For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

    2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

    Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

    Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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    Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

    3. Create a System

    Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

    This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

    You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

    Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

    4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

    We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

    If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

    Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

    5. Use a Ratings Scale

    Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

    Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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    It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

    6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

    This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

    You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

    You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

    7. Offer Feedback Forms

    Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

    First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

    Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

    You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    8. Track Cost Effectiveness

    This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

    Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

    Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

    9. Use Self-Evaluations

    Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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    Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

    10. Monitor Time Management

    This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

    Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

      The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

      While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

      11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

      We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

      Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

      For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

      Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

      Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

      From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

      12. Utilize Peer Feedback

      This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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      Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

      Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

      It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

      13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

      When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

      Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

      Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

      14. Use an External Evaluator

      Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

      They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

      While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

      Final Thoughts

      These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

      The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

      The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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      Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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