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Published on February 4, 2019

Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin

Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin

Tackling entrepreneurship involves juggling multiple roles at once. In the early stages, you’ll need to play a variety of roles from HR, Sales, Fulfilment and more.

As you progress and grow a team however, you’ll eventually have to work with people conducting various activities in your business. This is where the distinction between leadership and management is muddied, but is still inherently important.

Leadership is largely defined more closely to a leader charting the course with people who follow them ahead whilst management as a field describes the manager maintaining the status quo with people who work for them.

The differences between them stem from two stakeholders: the manager or leader and subordinates or followers and their professional dynamics.

Successful business owners have to possess traits of both a strong leader and manager to convince and direct a team towards the direction of success.

1. You Must Earn the Role of a Leader, but Still Maintain a Manager’s Tasks

By default, employees follow the orders to their superiors (managers). This is more because of the role or rank attributed to them by virtue of their position rather than a conscious choice to do so. This professional relationship between manager and subordinate works to a large part to accomplish day-to-day tasks without jeopardising the status quo.

However, when push comes to shove, this dynamic can be shaken and threatened. If teams are mismanaged or mistreated, their loyalties can very quickly be adjusted.

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In fact, a Harvard Business Review survey reveals 58 percent or people say they trust strangers more than their own boss.[1]

Entrepreneurs have to also assume the role of a leader, to earn the trust and respect of their followers. Followers should be compelled to make decisions to listen to leaders based off their own volition rather than because of any hierarchical construct.

Coupling both leadership and management in this case is to try to avoid sacrificing the professional relationships at the workplace present between managers and subordinates, being able to still enforce deadlines, whilst being able to have tasks performed willingly by your followers.

Making the transition:

Get involved in the struggles and challenges of your team. Ensure that any task you delegate is one that you can adequately understand and offer support to your staff when needed. Having skin in the game is one of the hallmarks of a good leader.

2. Learning Goes Both Ways

Management typically involves a one-way approach to communications which can sometimes stifle the confidence and learning curve of all stakeholders involved. This relationship happens when the manager is the only subject matter expert whilst everyone else supports mainly implementation. This can also result in over-management as managers tend to micro-manage when given full power over working ‘cogs’.

Leadership on the other hand embraces the prospect that managed personnel are inherently capable and have abilities that might be equally suited to handle various tasks even better than the leader. Basically, leaders know when to admit they don’t know everything and that they can be wrong.

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Making learning a two-way exercise empowers followers to be more daring and guarantees the evolution of the organisation over time. Knowing when to do this is the difficult part.

As a manager, you’ll need to conduct regular training to imbue staff with necessary skills and procedures to accomplish their tasks. As a leader, you need to open your mind to ensure that you don’t stifle potential and creativity within the team and workplace to create an environment where ideas are shared freely.

Making the transition:

Give your team ownership and credit for the work that they do and their various expertise. Acknowledge that you might not always be the best in every area and seek to instead help your team of professionals do their best work. Create an open environment where people are not afraid to speak up.

3. Go Further, or Go Faster

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – an African Proverb

Executives have a choice to pursue general efficiency or loftier goals overall as a priority in their management style.

Managers tend to optimise tasks for efficiency and speed whilst maintaining a good grip on control; while Leaders seek to relinquish control to empower teams to make their own decisions and pave the way in accordance to visions they set.

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Generally in smaller companies and even larger teams, this structure serves to encourage faster growth and efficiency in processes. The truth is that you can’t do everything on your own, leading a team is the way to move together, further and faster.

As a manager, there will be instances where you need to be ruthlessly focused on a priority task ahead, at times, speeding towards the finish line all on your own. Other times, you’ll want to lead your team to work together to fill any gaps in experience or quality. It’s about toe-ing the line and being versatile to play either role when necessary.

And sometimes, to have them follow you, you’ll need to show them instead of tell them. Overcoming your fear of public speaking is a good first step to take to become a more confident leader.

Making the transition:

See the pursuit of excellence as an exercise that you do together with your team. You work hard together, play hard together and reap the fruits together.

Your followers need to feel that they have a stake in the outcome you’re after and as a leader you must remember that no man is an island.

4. Invest in People, Not Just Process

Management can sometimes lead to de-humanisation when there is an over-emphasis on processes and formality. Global studies reveal that 79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving.[2]

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Playing the role of a leader is a lot more than following steps and learning about best practices. It’s about being an empathetic and authentic human being.

Try dishing out a few kind words on a job well done, create an environment where excellence feels just as rewarding and don’t let the context of work dampen human relationships you can develop with your team.

As a manager, it pays to invest in good processes that take care of itself so that the organisation can run like a well-oiled machine. However, processes are inherently still ‘powered by’ humans and you need to assume the role of a leader to keep your team motivated to take initiative to take these processes to the next level.

Making the transition:

Every executive is on their own journey in life and in their careers. We all seek growth, meaning and active progression. As a leader in your organization, you have to recognize that and lay the groundwork and pave the road ahead for your team members to grow and feel appreciated as human beings. Stop looking at problems through the lens of a body corporate, but begin to see how you can tackle it without compromising the morale or growth of your team.

Final Thoughts

In summary, being an effective executive or entrepreneur involves more than simply playing a single role of either a manager or leader. It’s about developing a unified mission that your team and you will work towards together, and creating the formal environment for it to be able to happen in a systematic fashion.

Essentially, great leaders are usually required to be great managers too.

Endeavouring towards becoming both a strong leader and manager can sometimes seem like hunting for a ‘unicorn’ of an ideal. If you take the right steps towards it, I’m confident you’ll see a dramatic, but positive growth spurt.

More Resources About Leadership & Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Eugene Cheng

Eugene is Lifehack's Entrepreneurship Expert. He is the co-founder and creative lead of HighSpark, offering presentation training for companies.

Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin 12 Foolproof Tips for Entrepreneurs to Be Successful in a New Venture How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur (15 Powerful Actions to Take Today) How to Read People’s Minds During a Conflict (At Work or Home) Ultimate Guide to Persuasive Speech (Hook and Influence Any Audience)

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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