The business world is filled with people who can effectively manage tasks and departments to deliver results, but what happens when these managers are promoted up a level?
Before we continue to look at how people can make the step up from management to leadership, firstly let’s understand better what it is that effective managers do.
Managers are predominantly in place to make sure that systems and processes are in place to deliver the end results the business or department are looking for. They make sure that the people who report to them understand and follow the processes in order to deliver the agreed results. Their focus is primarily on the targets or bottom-line results and as such their mindset is mainly short term.
Often, managers are a copy of the manager or managers that they have had before, bringing with them both positive and negative behaviours they experienced as a junior.
One of the biggest overhead costs on any business Profit and Loss Statement is almost always, wages. But what are business owners really doing to turn this cost into an investment?
While managers continue to focus on all the important aspects of achieving targets and driving bottom-line profit up, what are they doing to inspire themselves and the people they lead to achieve more than just their targets? What are they doing to innovate the way they think and act to changing business circumstances?
The speed which the current business environment is evolving means businesses need both management and leadership to take their businesses to the next level of success. Great management allows the business to keep its operational excellence while the leaders inspire the team to find new opportunities.
One of the key factors that any business needs is a good balance between management and leadership; however it is the leadership aspect that is often the missing element allowing businesses to grow in a profitable way.
We need to understand that leadership and management are not opposing forces, but remember they should complement each other and add value to any organisation.
So what is a leader?
Leadership is all about the interaction, understanding and inspiration of people in the business environment. We cannot lead tasks, only people, so it is crucial that as a business leader, we invest more in getting to understand our people better.
True leaders can take a business to a complete new level of success as they make things happen, which without them, would never have happened. They are long-term thinkers, and can often see opportunities to take a business in a better direction.
Leaders are people who consistently challenge the status quo and look for innovative ideas to move the business forward. A leader’s main focus is the people in the organisation, as they do not just look at them to perform jobs within a process, but look to inspire them to be the very best they can be. With a good leader, team members feel more involved and have a greater passion for the taking the business forward often looking for ways in which they can improve their own roles.
So what can business owners do to develop themselves and others into true leaders?
There is a way of developing leadership skills to enhance leadership ability, and also measure current skills down to 10 key areas, it is called Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence helps leaders develop skills that enable them to tap into the aspirations of people and show how the business can help them achieve these, understand that people need to belong to a group and understand how to engage with the main drivers of performance in people, their emotions.
Unfortunately the terminology of Emotional Intelligence can often lead to creating the wrong perception of what it really is. Many people believe that it is all about putting your arm around people as a leader and showing them that you care, when in fact, it is all about skills that help a leader understand themselves and the people they lead to create an environment where amazing results can be achieved.
“Leadership is the art of achieving extraordinary things with ordinary people; Emotional Intelligence is how you achieve this.” Dr Martyn Newman.
Leadership does not just happen, it needs to be learned and developed just like any other skill.
If you are serious about taking your business to a much higher level of growth and success, how much time are you investing in developing your own and the other senior people in the business leadership abilities?
Great management will bring results and excellent operational efficiency, but it is good leadership that has the ability to look over the horizon and take your business to unprecedented levels of success and growth.
For more on this topic and to learn about the 16 cylinder concept, listen to Episode 109 of the Fluid Business Podcast: