Leaders balance their day between managing tasks and leading their team or organization. Many leaders do not balance these two areas to maximize their efficiency.
Managing and leading are important but typically leaders spend too much time managing and not enough time leading. Understanding the definition of these roles provides the first step to the balance.
Managing consists of handling the day-to-day task of keeping the business going. These tasks include things like making up schedules, lining out the daily work, hiring people, reading and responding to email, running meetings, managing a budget, etc. Managing is easy to “touch” and see immediate results.
Leading consists of looking for ways to maximize the capacity of the organization you are leading. This organization could be a work shift of a business, a store or restaurant, sports team, a church or community group, or entire company. Leading involves understanding the vision of the organization and finding the best way to lead a team to execute that vision effectively. Leading is harder to “touch,” and results are not immediately seen. It is harder for a person to spend time on activities they cannot check off and show immediate results.
If we are unbalanced in the time we spend on either, we will lead ineffectively. The challenge is that the managing tasks often dominate our day and leave us will little time to think strategically. Managers are held accountable for getting the daily work done so will often react to the immediate needs and forego the leading efforts.
Think about your balance and pick one managing task you can delegate, make more efficient, or stop doing. The New Reality module called Leading and Managing provides assessments, cases, and ideas to help you create an appropriate balance. Contact us and we will send you a free copy.
Listen 70% of the Time
Most of us talk at least 70% of the time. Effective leaders learn to listen most of the time, especially when coaching others. If leaders could apply this one principle, many of the ineffective leadership traits would disappear. Ask questions, probe before advocating your view, and ask for input from your team. Strive to listen 70% of the time.
Find People Doing Things Right
Consciously find people doing the things well and acknowledge them even if it is part of their job. It is easy to find the negatives. This week acknowledge five people for doing something positive in your area.
Don’t React Harshly to a Mistake
Our initial instinct is to react when someone makes a mistake. The next time someone does something you do not like, ask a couple questions first to gain understanding and use a neutral voice. Ensure you understand the issue before providing your input.
Make Important Business Metrics Visible
What is important to you that you want your team to focus on? Create a simple measure and post it conspicuously. If you run a restaurant and have a lot of complaints, post the number of complaints per week or month. At first, employees may not care, but when you begin to ask for ideas on how to reduce the number, they will become conscious of the issue, provide ideas, and think about how to minimize that complaint. You and your team will see progress and improvement. What is important to you that you would like to improve? Create a metric and post it for your team.
Be Open to Feedback
The next time someone gives you feedback, ask a question vs. respond. We often defend ourselves when someone gives us improvement feedback. When they praise us, we say thank you. In both cases, we can ask a question or two so that we understand their view fully. Your team will learn quickly not to share improvement ideas if you are resistant. Asking a question also helps you shift toward the 70% listening goal.
There are obviously many other things to do and reading the books is crucial. But how are you doing in these five areas? New Reality narrows down complicated leadership to a few essential applications that make the most difference to effective leaders helping employees to improve their work area and business.
See our free resources to try our approach.