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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin

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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.

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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

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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 How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide) How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs How to Learn Business as an Aspiring Entrepreneur 10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs (And What to Learn from Them)

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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