S Bates, October 25 2019

Do You Need Your Managers To Be Powerful Leaders Too?


For many people, there is a lot of confusion between leading and managing.

They are entwined like the double helix spiral of DNA, but they are different.

While I'm not going to go into the differences between the two, I do want to deal with the common issue of managers not taking more of a leadership role when their companies need them to.

One of the most frequent conversations I have with executives and directors is around their frustration that many of their Managers are not being proactive and motivated enough to push through the changes they are asked to make.

These execs end up micro-managing their managers rather than having the support they need.

This is one of the reasons why many senior execs underperform; they have too much to manage.

The should be leading but end up managing.

But before we look at why this happens, I need to remind the execs that their way of thinking is the more unusual position.

Most people in your organisation will not push as hard as you will.

They won't take the risks you do; many won't have the confidence to speak up, and frankly, they are not that interested in going after the big results that you are aiming at.

I call people who want to lead and achieve higher than average results Alphas.

Alphas think differently from the vast majority of people; it also can be hard to remember that most people don't think in the same way as they do.

We think that what is normal for us is normal for others.

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Why Don't Managers Lead?

These are the common reasons why managers don't push as hard as you want them to.

Most managers are not given a role where they are expected to be innovative.

They are asked to make sure a process functions properly, not invent one.

This is the case for most new managers, and frequently they don't shift from this level of thinking.

Most managers don't identify as being a leader.

Many never even think about this as a role. It simply does not cross their minds.

This may seem surprising, but it is quite common.

They don't know how to be a leader.

They don't have the knowledge and skills to have the confidence to be a leader.

Most managers don't get any significant training to be a manager, let alone being a leader.

Not all managers are as self-motivated as we would expect or want.

One of the attributes of a great manager is that they can self-motivate and self-police their activities.

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many do not.

This leads to

Many managers are not natural managers; they are Workers in a Manager's role.

This is common because many teams need managers with high technical skills for them to be successful.

But because they have the title and role, it does not mean they can think like a manager or have any managerial skills.

They struggle enough with the role of manager, let alone be a leader.

They have been shot down in the past.

People who have taken the risk to speak up but have been shot down or dismissed are reluctant to stick their head up again.

They need a safe environment and encouragement to risk doing so.

A Deeper Problem

Similar issues can also happen at the senior level too.

A lot of senior people are not directors or leaders at heart and have not made the shift of thinking from Manager to Innovator.

They are careful not to stick their head above the parapet because they are fearing the consequences of doing so.

They feel they have a lot to lose, and so are careful in how they behave.

They are so bogged down by firefighting and day to day management and have little time to be strategic and lead.

And, some are biding their time until they exit.

A Simple Solution

To get the best out of your teams and to make sure your projects hit their targets, they need both leaders and managers.

And, they need an environment where they can be successful.

Leaders And Managers Need Developing

To do this, you first need to identify who are natural managers and who are not.

Then, discover what at what level of thinking they are currently capable of.

Then, develop their knowledge and skills.

Leadership comes from the top down.

Stephen Bates

#TheCEOMaker #Leadership #Management

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S Bates

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