Maybe you have taken on a new management position, or maybe you have been in your position for quite some time. Regardless of longevity, it is imperative to set yourself apart as a leader first. Leadership and management are not synonymous of each other, but they should always go hand in hand. The key differentiator is that a manager administers and implements, while a leader inspires and innovates – but who said you can’t strive for both?
It’s time to start seeing and positioning yourself as a leading manager, and therefore I find it imperative to introduce part 1 of 3 in my series: How to Be a Leading Manager. In this series I will discuss what distinguishes a traditional manager from a traditional leader, and what you can do to develop yourself as both.
In part 1 of this series, I will introduce how you can find a happy meeting point between assigning responsibilities and encouraging ideas among your team. Combining both of these qualities as a leading manager has resulted in increased productivity throughout my team, and it has simultaneously enabled me to form trusting working relationships and friendships with each and every team member.
Assigning Responsibilities vs. Encouraging Ideas
A manager allocates projects and responsibilities according to who is best suited for the task, but a leader nurtures inventive ideas and forward thinking. Do you find yourself leaning toward one end of the spectrum? If so, you’re not alone, but assigning important duties and encouraging new ideas are both needed for success, and you should never strive for one while discounting the other.
Assigning responsibilities to the team you are managing is central to reaching goals and deadlines, and is one of the first steps in positioning yourself as a productive project manager. A leader encourages new concepts, gives ownership of individual projects and creates a safe work environment where employees feel comfortable and eager to bring new ideas to the table. Why not strive for both?
The next time you are developing goals and allocating projects among your team, invite them to join the conversation and welcome collaboration. Most importantly, encourage employees to bring forth new initiatives and ideas, develop genuine relationships with those who report to you and cultivate a trusting environment that ensures that all mistakes can be redirected as a learning experience.
Food for Thought
Assigning responsibilities and encouraging ideas can and should work cohesively. Stay tuned next week to read part 2 of this series where I will discuss how traditional managers exclusively use their head, how leaders use their heart and how you can begin to leverage both concurrently in your mission to achieve optimal results and foster a high-performing team.
Speaking of teams, check out mine below!