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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

    Reference

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    Angelina Phebus

    Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2019

    How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

    How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

    We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

    With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

    So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

    1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

    Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

    So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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    You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

    If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

    Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

    2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

    Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

    Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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    Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

    Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

    3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

    If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

    This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

    Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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    When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

    If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

    Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

    4. Get up and Move

    We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

    When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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    If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

    Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

    It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

    Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

    The Bottom Line

    It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

    Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

    More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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