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Last Updated on December 8, 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

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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