You Achieve More Through Leadership, Not Management

Friday, May 15, 2020

The terms “leadership” and “management,” however often they may be used interchangeably, don’t have the same meaning. Unfortunately, too many professionals take on the role of a manager and miss out on all the opportunities of being a leader. There’s a big difference between the two.

Article 3 Minutes
You Achieve More Through Leadership, Not Management

People follow leaders, but they only work for managers. And if you manage staff too much, issues arise. For example, controlling every move your employees make in order to prevent mistakes may seem effective, but it’s demoralizing.

To get a better insight into why this happens, we need to dig a little deeper.

Most businesses start small. As an organization grows, they hire more people that can take over those tasks. But letting go of control isn’t easy. Managers are used to doing things in a certain way and they like being involved, as exhausting as it may be.

However, this is a complete waste of time and skills, and can be counter-productive. As a leader, you need to create a motivated, productive environment and micro-managing isn’t how you do it. Eventually, being too involved can lead to burnout.

Instead of telling people what to do, try to motivate them to do their best. Instead of spending your time on busywork, find systems that work for you and give you time to focus on the big picture.

Here’s how to do that.

Set up systems that work

Removing the bulk of repetitive tasks from your workflow is one of the best ways to improve yourself as a leader and give your team a chance to thrive. Fortunately, this is easy to do through automation.

First, identify areas where repetitive manual tasks are a drain on your resources. Every department has them, and every department can benefit from some sort of automation, whether it’s gathering leads in marketing, automating accounts payable in finance, or sorting through candidate applications in HR.

Optimize workflow

A report published by TINYpulse, an employee engagement company, stated that one of the biggest reasons employees quit their jobs is micromanagement. Once you automate wherever possible, focus on creating repeatable processes that your employees can follow. This can improve the quality of your output and reduce micromanagement.

Your employees have a clear map to desired results while understanding their accountability and being able to work autonomously. Having optimized processes will also boost your team’s productivity and efficiency.

Of course, your workflow will change over time, which is why it’s important to measure the productivity and efficiency of the processes in place and tweak them when necessary.

Educate and motivate

A road to success is paved with competent, motivated people. This is why you need to invest in the education and training of your team. Are you implementing new software? New workflows? Offering training? When you have skilled employees on your side, reaching goals is easier. And there’s no need for you to over-manage.

As a leader, a big part of your job is to motivate people. So instead of holding long, inefficient meetings every day, replace them with brief brainstorming or idea exchange sessions. Encourage people to share their thoughts with you and make them feel important to your cause — because they are. Naturally, education is another motivator.

Equip your team for success and you’ll be successful

When you give your team all of this — clear workflows, education, motivation, and more room for creativity — you get a group of people you want on your side. Achieving this is not possible through management, only through efficient leadership.

The desire to micromanage exists in many managers, but the trick is to reduce its impact. Embrace the fact that you can’t manage everything, and invest your time and effort into creating an environment in which your team can win.

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Kristina Perunicic

Kristina Perunicic is a freelance writer with Optimist. She studied marketing and occasionally consults local startups on their digital marketing strategy. She specializes in writing and editing content related to business strategy, ecommerce, and leadership. She also loves reading, volunteering and spending time with her family.

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