By Jeremy Koellish, COO
The business world is full of chatter (published and otherwise) on management and leadership. Blog posts flood social media channels with catchy titles and inspirational imagery, and you can’t walk through a Barnes & Noble without at least one “expert” locking eyes with you from the back of a dust jacket. And this is all good – it is good to improve and seek advice on how to get started.
However, what I see missing from the majority of thought leadership on managing and leading is a healthy blend of these two approaches to operations, when in reality, it is a combination of both that yield the best results.
Check out how to get the most out of your team:
Rule #1: Challenge your team.
Management is all about tactics. Leadership is all about inspiration. Understanding this simple delineation allows team leaders to thoroughly understand that they need both approaches to fully engage and challenge their teams. Why is challenging your team so important? Put simply, you want your team to be happy and boredom does not breed happiness – in fact quite the opposite. So, from a managerial standpoint, you need to make sure that those on your team are following procedures and getting actual tasks completed, while from a leadership stance you need to inspire your team to do good work all the while providing opportunities to learn, take risks and grow. It’s a balancing act, and one that requires mindfulness and effort – but without challenging tasks and fostering a supportive environment outputs can stagnate.
Rule #2: Keep your team accountable.
Accountability, on the surface, may seem like a strictly managerial function, but leadership plays a big part in making sure your team members know what is expected of them and how they feel about their ownership over those expectations. Managers need to make clear the expectations of their teams, and leaders need to inspire a culture of ownership around those expectations. In our organization, we do this by setting specific KPIs that team members know they are held accountable for reaching while promoting a culture of “I got this” throughout our organization – from admins to engineers. Participating in the larger culture creates a sense of belonging while hitting specific goals provides a sense of accomplishment. Of course achieving this balance within your managerial toolkit is easier said than done as accessing two different skillsets is incredibly challenging, especially when you’re in the weeds of the day-to-day, but working toward a manage-like-a-leader mindset will not only grow you as a leader but also inspire your team to achieve results.