Every successful business leader needs two things… motivational Leaders and organised Managers with big boundaries!
You might be thinking “I want to be a leader”, I know I did, but over the years I have come to learn how much I wish I had it in me to be a good manager!
So what’s the difference? A leader naturally gains respect and followers, great! Everyone loves these magnetic, energetic and motivational people! Whilst the poor suffering manager is normally seen as a tyrant… and believe me, to be a good manager, you really do need a bit of this in you! Managers can’t be your buddy… well not a true buddy. They should be fun, kind, decent people, but the do have to, from time-to-time, demand respect and enforce production and process – which let’s face it, isn’t always fun!
I hear you say “I’m definitely a not an arsehole, I’m a leader”. Of course, we all want to be leaders. How many dictators do you know that have lasted? They all fall eventually, and most with a horrible thud! To be a true leader, you cannot dictate, to demand respect, you must earn it. Being a leader is being magnetic, people naturally attract to leaders. A leader is kind and honest, yet fair and aloof from office politics. A leader is inspirational, energetic and open to discussion. They guide the way through the mud with inspirational metaphors and analogies. Leaders are not hired for a role, leaders build their roles. Yet no leader can be truly successful without strong, process led managers holding them up on their podiums.
Getting my drift… behind every successful world leader or business whizz lies many hardworking, exasperated managers, endlessly battling to make the magic of the leader come true. Managers are hired to deliver vital business needs. Managers step in to needy roles. They shape them with processes and boundaries, and boy, do they demand your respect.
Without great managers, installing key business structure and controls, no team can truly ever be stable or happy. This I have first-hand experience upon! I was popular, followed and inspirational to my team. Yet the very entrepreneurial nature of being a leader prevents us from holding the ability to provide structure and security when difficult situations arise. As teams grow, cracks begin to show.
How to fix team management issues
No matter how many courses I went on, mentors I hired and learnings I read, I came to understand the need for someone with the time, focus and boundaries to control my team whilst I ran around looking after clients, bringing in sales, inspiring projects and driving the brand. This person provides discipline and structure with the repetition/coherence needed to install normality, where I as a leader could not.
Managers help employees to see the light in a leader’s direction. They often are expected to play bad cop in difficult situations and drive people to distraction with their attention to detail and reparative focus on the day-to-day process implementation and business profitability.
How to be a great leader
We as “good leaders”, however, must always stand strong behind them and support them in front of the team no matter what… discussions and disagreements can happen between you behind closed doors. We must also, in return for their steady support as the “bad cop”, be ready to come down hard and fast when the situation demands. “Strike hard and fast, then whip back to the norm”.
For this both manager and leader need to have excellent communication channels, 100% trust and understanding of each other’s behaviours, daily interaction, and have clear understandings of each other’s responsibilities, culture, expectations and company direction. Managers must be comfortable enough to be open with you as a leader and know you will support them, or fairly discuss opinions and options.
Once you are sure you have an empowering balance of respected leaders at the top supported by the required influential and fastidious managers below, your business can grow with confidence then look to steady, productive teams. They are the future of you profitably and growth.
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