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Last Updated on May 15, 2020

7 Ways to Improve Your Management Leadership Skills

7 Ways to Improve Your Management Leadership Skills

We all want to be better management leaders. As employers or as managers, management leadership is something that consciously and subconsciously affects all our moves.

But do we fully understand what this really means?

Management and leadership are two separate terms. However, since they go hand in hand and work in unison, management leadership is referred to as one skill.

In a work environment, a healthy balance of both these ideas is important.

In this article, you’ll find out what management and leadership mean on their own as well as a combined concept. Along with this, you’ll learn 7 ways to maintain a balanced management leadership role.

The Role of a Manager

Since you are in authority, it is okay if you mend the rules every now and then. In fact, you are expected to go out of the box to take risks that will allow the entire team to work above and beyond boundaries.

This does not affect your job because as a leader, you are only looking at the bigger picture: the end result.

On the other hand, a manager works in a completely opposite manner. While a manager also maintains an image of authority, this power does not give the manager any supremacy over the rest of the team.

Instead, a manager is expected to work with the team on an equal level. This is why as a manager, you cannot break rules or take risks.

A manager’s role is to get the job done. How the team is managed to get the desired result is all up to the manager. So, every step that is taken to achieve a bigger goal is to be handled by the manager.

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A work team is like a machine. Every part is doing its job to achieve a common goal.

A manager is a part of this machine, although more crucial than the rest. However, a leader is only an external force that can control the machine but isn’t working within the machine like everybody else.

How to Balance Leadership and Management Roles?

You might be confused at this point.

We just discussed the differences between a manager and a leader. These two roles seem to be quite clashing. Yet, you are expected to somehow juggle both of them simultaneously.

When you get into the practical world, you’ll realize that you actually need to take on both these duties to maintain a running work environment.[1]

There are times when the team needs a motivational boost from a leader. But at other times, you have to step down at the same level as the rest of the team to help them tackle problems.

Without the role of a leader, a manager can never encourage any team to get creative. It is only when you’re ready to break rules and go against the flow that you can come up with something new and exciting.

Similarly, if you only focus on the bigger picture without considering the path, your dreams will never turn to reality. This is where a manager does the magic.

All in all, management leadership is one role that has to be fulfilled remarkably.

Things do get a bit clearer if you have other superiors over you. If the orders and suggestions are coming from above, you cannot really work as a leader. All that you are expected to do is behave like a manager.

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On the contrary, when you are given complete autonomy over a project, you can quickly put on the leadership hat.

First, inspire your team to come up with ideas that can be implemented to achieve the desired final result. After that, work as a manager to delegate tasks and ensure productivity.

7 Ways to Maintain a Balanced Management Leadership Role

Now that the idea of management leadership is clear in your mind, it’s time for you to work on improving this skill.

Here are 7 easy tips you can use to become a better manager and leader altogether!

1. Be a Role Model

Whether you’re acting as a leader or a manager, you are someone your team looks up to. This is why you need to be exactly who you want your team members to be.

Do you want everyone to be punctual? Stop being late yourself, even if it’s just a minute.

Would you prefer an optimistic aura in your workplace? Start practicing positivity yourself.

Believe it or not, people only do what they see as opposed to what they hear. So instead of talking the talk, start walking the walk and see how everyone else will follow.

2. Communicate the Bigger Picture

When you’re in the process of achieving a goal, you usually take on the role of a manager. At this point, you’re so focused on communicating the individual tasks that you can sometimes forget the bigger picture because that is what a leader is supposed to do.

However, without the expected outcome in mind, you and your team cannot produce it.

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Communicate the expectations very clearly as you’re delegating the tasks. So basically, this is where you have to act as a leader and a manager side by side.

3. Be Decisive

Your decision power is vital. A strong, decisive management leader makes the job easy for everyone. The team can put their trust in their supervisor, and you as the supervisor should be able to make firm choices.

No matter how unexpected of an issue or situation arises, your decisive power shouldn’t waver to maintain high morale and discipline.

The team will be able to put their trust in you. They will always know you’ll come up with a solid solution and so, they can focus their attention on more important tasks instead of minor worries like these.

Also, it saves a lot of time because you are always sure of what you want and what is completely off-limits for the team.

4. Have a Listening Ear

Management leaders can sometimes become too strict. In hopes of maintaining authority, they become so unreachable that they lose any connection with the team.

As a manager, it is your duty to work alongside your team to keep the machine running smoothly. Even as a leader and despite being an external force, you have to be involved enough to know how to keep the machine going.

Offer an open ear to listen to team conflicts, complaints regarding your role, feedback, suggestions, and anything else that your team members have to say.

Also, don’t just listen and ignore it. Act on it so that everyone feels heard and secure.

5. Accept Differences

Two people may be looking at the same thing and still not see it the same way. This is just how humans are.

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The day you accept this fact, you’ll instantly become much better at management leadership. You won’t expect your team to receive a carbon copy of what’s in your brain.

When you start accepting differences, you’ll be okay with people working in their comfort zones. Once that starts happening, your team will start to produce something beyond your expectations.

6. Build Your Team

As a management leader, your ultimate job is to build your team. Support them and empower them. Include people from varying backgrounds, with different skill sets, with different work styles, and maintain a healthy balance of variations.

With more brains on the team, you’ll get insight from different perspectives and that only broadens your options. Nothing can be more satisfying to a leader than a team like this.

This is also why inclusive teams and leaders are proven to produce better outputs.[2]

7. Never Stop Learning

It may be hard for you to comprehend but just because you’re at a higher authority level doesn’t mean you’ve learned everything.

There’s always room to grow. And this growth comes from learning. Continue to strive to improve your role as a management leader.

When your team sees that you continuously struggle to become better, they will follow you on the same route. Overall, continuous learning will reap better results for you and your organization.

Conclusion

The ball is now in your court. All that’s left to do now to become a better management leader is the application of this knowledge.

Take it one step at a time. Implement one tip at a time.

Begin now and you’ll notice mind-blowing results in your workplace within a short period!

More Management Leadership Skills

Featured photo credit: CoWomen via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Bristol is the most congested city in England. Whenever I have to work at the office, I ride there, like most of us do. Furthermore, I always make sure to go at off hours; otherwise, the roads are jam-packed with cars, buses, bikes, even pedestrians. Why is that? Because everyone is working a traditional 9 to 5 work day.

Where did the “9 to 5” Come From?

It all started back in 1946. The United States government implemented the 40 hour work week for all federal employees, and all companies adopted the practice afterwards. That’s 67 years with the same schedule. Let’s think about all the things that have changed in the 67 years:

  • We went to the moon, and astronauts now live in space on the ISS.

  • Computers used to take up entire rooms and took hours to make a single calculation. Now we have more powerful computers in our purses and back pockets with our smartphones.

  • Lots of employees can now telecommute to the office from hundreds, and even thousands of miles away.

In 1946 a 9-5 job made sense because we had time after 5pm for a social life, a family life. Now we’re constantly connected to other people and the office, with the Internet, email on our smartphones, and hashtags in our movies and television shows. There is no downtime anymore.

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Different Folks, Different Strokes

Enjoying your downtime is an important part of life. It recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive. Allowing people to balance life and work can provide them with much needed perspective and motivation to see the bigger picture of what they are trying to achieve.

Some people are just more productive when they’re working at their optimal time of day, after feeling well rested and personally fulfilled.  For some that can be  from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m; for others, it could be  2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

People have their own rhythms and routines. It would be great if we could sync our work schedule to match. Simply put, the imposed 8-hour work day can be a creativity and morale killer for the average person in today’s world.

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Productivity and Trust Killer

Fostering creativity among employees is not always an easy endeavor, but perhaps a good place to start is by simply not tying their tasks and goals to a fixed time period. Let them work on their to-do list at their own pace, and chances are, you’ll get the best out of your employee who feels empowered instead of babysat.

That’s not to say that you should  allow your team to run wild and do whatever they want, but restricting them to a 9 to 5 time frame can quickly demoralize people. Set parameters and deadlines, and let them work at their own creative best with the understanding that their work is crucial to the functioning of the entire team.

Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur who previously worked in broadcasting, noted to Inc that from her experience, “treating employees like grown-ups made it more likely that they would behave the same way.” The principle here is to have your employees work to get things done, not to just follow the hands on the clock.

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A Flexible Remote Working Policy

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously recalled all her remote workers, saying she wanted to improve innovation and collaboration, but was that the right decision? We’ve all said that we’re often more productive in a half day working from home than a full day working in the office, right? So why not let your employees work remotely from home?

There are definitely varying schools of thought on remote working. Some believe that innovation and collaboration can only happen in a boardroom with markers, whiteboards and post-it notes and of course, this can be true for some. But do a few great brainstorms trump a team that feels a little less stressed and a little more free?

Those who champion remote working often note that these employees are not counting the clock, worried about getting home, cooking dinner or rushing through errands post-work. No one works their 9-5 straight without breaks here and there.  Allowing some time for remote working means employees can handle some non-work related tasks and feel more accomplished throughout the day. Also, sometimes we all need to have a taste of working in our pajamas, right?

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It’ll be interesting to see how many traditional companies and industries start giving their employees more freedom with their work schedule. And how many end up rescinding their policies like Yahoo did.

What are your thoughts of the traditional 9-5 schedule and what are you doing to help foster your team’s productivity and creativity? Hit the comments and let us know.

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