Management vs. Leadership

The words fade out, the music starts to rise, the drums kick in and the underdog begins to train harder, run faster and do better than they’ve ever done before. You can physically feel your heart rate begin to increase, your pride begin to swell and you are in their corner! This is what the power of coaching feels like in real life; and, this is what a leader should remember and utilize as they encourage their team members to be top-level performers.

It is easy to tell someone what to do, how to do it and, in turn, expect positive results. A manager manages the tasks that people do; while a leader leads people. The piece that is missing in this scenario, though, is encouraging someone to go beyond the basics of just getting the job done. If your team feels encouraged and empowered in their role, they will be more likely to contribute to the team in multiple facets. Leading a team instead of managing it gives a strong team member the freedom to use their own knowledge and experience to complete tasks (and beyond!) that improve the processes when needed and encourages other team mates to do the same. Your customers can see when your employees enjoy what they do and for whom they do it.

In any business situation, the leaders in your organization will determine if you fail, plateau or soar. When you are hiring or promoting a leader, it is important to recognize the ease or difficulty they have with building relationships. This is especially important when an otherwise valued employee starts to struggle. It is a leader’s responsibility to analyze and determine if the employee is in a position that no longer fits them, he or she is on a team that has stopped motivating each other or if the culture of the company is no longer a good fit. All of these scenarios can be addressed in a positive way with an end result that is beneficial to everyone. Some examples are:

  • If the employee feels they have outgrown the position, a leader can determine if there is a next-level position or set of responsibilities the employee can be awarded. Every person is driven by a different desire – some desire money, others desire acknowledgment, etc. – and knowing what drives your team is a leader’s first step at delivering top performance and top performers.
  • If a team has changed in size, this can play a part in how each member of the team feels. Maybe they take issue with responsibilities being divided or there exists a personality conflict. Talking with the team members individually or as a group to work through an issue will help a strong leader take productive next steps to get the team back on track.
  • If it is not task-related and the team dynamic seems fine, it may be a company culture conflict that needs further examination. If the culture in the company is to cultivate strengths and utilize personnel in the most positive way possible – but there are team members that don’t like to share knowledge or are not willing to adapt to change easily – it may be best for both parties to go their separate ways. A person, or a company, cannot grow if they are moving in two different directions.

“Tend to the people, and they will tend to the business.” – John Maxwell

Allissa Rousselo, Controller

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