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Do you Lead or Manage?

Do you Lead or Manage?

Posted on 2/05/2018 by Rachel Hough

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Interesting question isn't it?  Did you immediately shout "Both"?

I've seen an number of job descriptions lately that state the responsibility "To lead and manage a team". Without the additional benefit of a compentency profile to give further definition around what this actually entails, I suspect a lot of people out there firmly believe that they do both.  To me, it's quite a confusing phrase and not many people deliver both roles well.  More recently, Management has somehow become viewed as the boring strick in the mud and everyone is apparently a Leader or Entrepreneur!

I'm here to champion the Manager and let me explain why.
I see Management and Leadership roles as quite different, sometimes both roles are carried out by the same person in an SME, but in all honestly it's rare to see both carried out well. They require different skills and therefore behaviours to be successful.  Whilst the leader will have the ideas, be the inspiration and the visionary, and in doing so will set the scene for the culture, someone else is usually needed to be the practical one; to translate this information into an effective management process, to provide the consistency and to prevent the ideas factory going into overdrive leading to an everchanging landscape where the end point is hard to reach. Let's celebrate the Manager and their strengths!  Good ones are vital for success and it's their actions which will influence your staff retention levels and provide the backbone for your companies reputation with customers and competitors, thus positioning you as an employee of choice.  Doesn't sound so stick in the mud now, does it?

So, which one are you?
Start with your natural strengths, generally we like doing what we are good at! If you can't identify your natural strengths, behavioural profiling can be a useful instrument  to examine this from a scientific stance.  A Manager and Leader may well have similar profiles or crossovers, but the detail will be undoubtably different, especially if the leader is an entrepreneur (a real one!).  Within the management masterclasses that I run, the "What Sort Of Manager Are You?" programme frequently produces those light bulb moments, when people realising that they aren't always operating in the style inferred and required by the job role. Is this fixable?  Yes, ususally, if they have a toe in a different operating style.  I see this more frequently when people have been promoted through the ranks without clear role definition, seperation or expectations.  Training is undoubtably useful, new managers cannot simply acquire the management skill set by osmosis!  Once the skill set is gained, coaching to assist the transition between job roles and corresponding operating styles will serve to make the path easier and ensure productivity in role is reached far sooner than being left to it.

So what's the moral of the story?
As leaders, invest the time and resources to make your managers great!  Provide the training and in doing so shorten the learning period and increase the person's confidence.  Both Managers and Leaders will  reap the reward.  Think of it this way, with the Bank of England Chief Economist saying that Britain needs to improve the quality of its Managers to be competitive on the global stage... and 4/5 Managers were termed "untrained, accidental Managers" in 2017 by the CIM....a true entrepreneur would know what to do.

Our next  Management Masterclass "Defining The Role and Skills of an Effective Manager" is on the 24th May 2018.