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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.

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) Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin 12 Foolproof Tips for Entrepreneurs to Be Successful in a New Venture

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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