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How Becoming a Manager Is Different From Becoming a Leader

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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.

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    Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Angelina Phebus

    Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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