Leadership vs. Management
In the business world, there are task-based and relationship-based managers who accomplish organizational goals. Clearly, a task-based approach may be necessary when a business is disorganized to the point where operations are failing in some regards and cannot continue “As is”. For those operations where tasks are being completed in a timely manner, and a sense of urgency is not as strong, relationship-based management is commonly the better approach. Managers need to continue to think in a forward facing direction to where they would see their operations in the near future, and maintaining that mindset in troubling times can be critical for organization and operation of the workforce.
Regardless of management style used, leadership is a key component of running any team, especially in the case of natural and charismatic leaders who strongly influence organizations. While the management style used can make a difference in how quickly tasks are being approached and completed, leadership is key to ensuring the success of teamwork. Take any team with various leadership styles, each trying to influence the other, and the most innovative members will find how best they fit together. Playing to strengths and recognizing the qualities of all on the team, while also anticipating weaknesses, allows for a solid collaboration effort. While the natural leaders may inherently influence one another, it’s important for leadership to pass among members from time to time so that each can receive recognition as needed.
The best leaders are those who put aside their egos and personal goals when needed and listen down to the heartbeat and lifeblood of their organizations. Leaders listen from the ground up, meaning they understand the concerns of employees, meet and exceed expectations around those concerns. From the standpoint of corporate social responsibility, the ideas and capabilities of employees at all levels are no less important than those of the leaders of an organization. Your staff members live out in the communities surrounding your operations, and word of mouth carries concerning how they feel working under your leadership. What kind of image would you like portrayed among the communities who rely on your capabilities? The tyrannical overlord who always must have their own way regardless of input? Or the kind and understanding leader, who stands up for the ideas of their employees and shares in their commitment and loyalty to the organization’s vision and goals?
Self-reflection is necessary for any manager of a business, for in reflecting on how employees view you and what you are trying to accomplish you can find a superior truth to assist in managing them. The identity of a leader and manager must be one that reflects the best interests of an organization at all levels, not just at the top. Asking ourselves “What’s best for all stakeholders?” should be at least a weekly exercise for organizational leadership because it forces you to think outside of your own little bubble. Try and commit to having at least one small conversation per week with various employees at all levels of the organization to grow your awareness of employee perceptions. If you go out of your way for your staff, not all, but many of them will go out of their way for you.
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