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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

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Eugene Cheng

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

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Last Updated on June 17, 2019

Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

How do you usually go about your day?

Do you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and then spend the whole day looking forward to being at home and unwinding?

We often hear about work life balance – having a good balance between work and personal time. Whilst this may sound like a smart idea, it can also imply that we should dedicate at least half of our time to work–and sacrifice time for our “personal life”.

To me, that seems… off balance. Because, the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to split your time equally between the two. And, you may end up stressing out if you’re not able to meet that expectation of balance.

Instead, why not think of having work life harmony instead?

With this mindset, you can actually integrate work into your life in a way that feels more complete. This way, you don’t need to view work and having personal time as separate.

So, how do you achieve work life harmony?

Work Life Harmony Explained

The difference between work life balance and work life harmony is pretty simple. With the former, there is an implication that you have to sacrifice your “life” for work. But, this is the worst way to go about things! How can you truly be at peace in life if you dread 8 hours of your day?

Work life harmony on the other hand, allows your work to be a part of your life. This means that you can choose to be happy both at home, and at work! Work no longer needs to be seen as the ‘bad’ or un-fun activity.

Having work life harmony also ensures you’re truly present in whatever place you find yourself.

Just take a look at Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon for example.

He uses a non traditional approach to work by making time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and still puts aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes.

He believes that all his staff should stop trying to achieve a ‘balance’ in their work and personal lives as that implies a trade off. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between the two.

As the world’s richest man, he must be doing something right!

Rethink Time Management

Now, when we think of striking a balance, we usually associate it with time, don’t we? How much time are we spending at work versus how much time are we spending in our personal lives? Are we taking enough time to be with our loved ones, to do meaningful activities with others or even for ourselves, or are we just dedicating all our time to work?

This is the so-called-balance that many struggle with.

With work life harmony, we learn to rethink time management. By re-assessing how you manage your time, you’ll have a lot more of it. It’s incredible how much time can get wasted over the period of a day–especially when you’re not accurately tracking it.

Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls when it comes to prioritizing. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefit; when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is otherwise known as Priority Chaos.

In order to overcome this and be in better control of your time, identify the tasks that need the most focus to get accomplished. If it’s a big task, then it’s good to break it down into smaller bite-sized actions that will provide you with a clearer short term benefit.

When setting up tasks, give yourself a time limit. The brain has a bias towards short term benefits, and your attention span is limited, so if your tasks are going to take ages to complete, you’ll end up losing focus… and wasting time.

Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s time to prioritize them. Since you have a time limit, your focus should be on the top priority tasks. By doing this, you will already be able to get more done in less time at work!

Have Passion for What You Do

Managing your time is important in achieving that work life harmony. But, perhaps of greater importance, is loving what you do in life. One of the most effective ways to achieve a work life harmony is to really enjoy, or find a purpose, in what you do for a living. Even though everyone isn’t always lucky enough to find a position that pays them for pursuing their passion, you can strive to find meaning in what you are already doing, or pursue something new entirely!

For example, say you work at an office that sells paper. While many people wouldn’t consider this a world changing pursuit, I beg to differ. Think of all the individuals in the world that rely on paper. From creative types to quantum physics experts, your role at your workplace brings incredible value to many many people all over the world. You will have, without a doubt, helped bring a new idea into existence. Several new ideas to be precise.

So, think about what you’re doing now. Is it something that allows you to embrace your passion?

Or perhaps you might not even know what it is that you love or enjoy doing. Why not explore and reflect on what gives you joy and contentment? Is there an area or industry that you could see yourself exploring to experience that fulfillment?

Can you find a deeper purpose in what you’re already doing?

When you’re able to find meaning in your work, you’re that much closer to achieving work life harmony.

Don’t Be Intimidated By Obstacles and Limitations

Creating work life harmony is also about understanding yourself–which includes your limitations and past obstacles–as this allows you to become more resilient.

If you never had to experience struggles, challenges or setbacks, then you would never be forced to adapt and mature. So in theory, having to face obstacles in life is actually quite necessary.

Most of us think of setbacks and obstacles as negative. Though, if you’re able to maintain an optimistic attitude, you’ll almost always have a higher chance of success of overcoming those obstacles to reach your eventual goal.

Your attitude towards setbacks will define the outcome of whether you rise from the challenge or remain stuck in it. So, in order to achieve work life harmony, it’s important to have a resilient attitude as challenges will always come your way–especially when you strive to integrate work into your life, and not a separate or dominant part of life.

Delegate When You Need To

Of course, when you want to increase productivity and minimize the time or effort spent, a great way to do so is to delegate!

If you spend a lot of time doing tasks on your own that could be delegated to others (whether at work or at home) you’re losing a lot of precious free time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere.

At the end of the day, we all have a limited amount of time. So we should all be striving to create a harmonious work and living situation where we can find meaning in all that we do.

While an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones or tasks needed to get there may be meaningful. That’s because we have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Not every task is going to be enjoyable or easy to complete. That’s where delegation comes in.

Delegation simply allows you to leverage time from an external source, thus giving you opportunities to increase your own quality of time. Keep in mind that delegation should be done with deliberate attention, otherwise you may end up over relying on others.

If you find that you’re running into the problem of over delegating, then it may be time to re-evaluate your motivation for doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

Embrace the Circle and Become Happier and More Productive

Living in harmony is about feeling good about the ways in which you spend your time, despite how busy you may be. Your switch from work mode to a more personal mode should be effortless. It’s about integrating your personal life and the things you love into your busy work life!

It all begins with the shift in perspective. Understanding what your passions are, and learning to be resilient, before taking a different approach to the way you manage your time and everyday tasks.

These are steps that you can start taking to move away from balance to harmony. 

Featured photo credit: Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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