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7 Obstacles That Keep Leaders from Empowering Their Teams

Empowerment is a tricky topic in most workplaces, because it disrupts the normal working dynamics of an organisation. Most employees would prefer more empowerment rather than more structured decision-making. However, many leaders are not willing to work towards this same goal. In this article, I want to explore some of the reasons why leaders aren’t willing to empower their employees.

7 Obstacles That Keep Leaders From Empowering Their Teams

Benefits of Empowered Teams

Benefits of empowerment are clear. When employees are given the freedom to make their own decisions about matters in their jobs, they are able to increase their productivity. Since they will spend less time calling on their superiors to assist them, they can more quickly solve problems on their own with the resources that are given.

Empowered employees are also invested employees. Jobs that are too structured and rigid do not attract employees who want to stay put in their job for long periods of time. When more power is given to the employee to deal with problems that arise, they will be more willing to stay in that job versus looking for other jobs.

Managers and leadership personnel will also be less stressed out in empowered workplaces. Employees who aren’t allowed to make their own decisions will call on their leaders often, even for small problems that could have been solved easily. Instead, leaders over-exert themselves in an attempt to do their normal job responsibilities while also dealing with interruptions from employee problems.

Why Leaders Don’t Empower Their Teams

So, if the benefits are so clear then what stands in the way of employee empowerment? Here are some of the most common obstacles:

1. Laziness

To be fair, it takes a lot of effort to create an environment that promotes employee empowerment. It is not an easy job for leaders in the beginning of the process. This is one of the main reasons that leaders don’t bother with trying to empower employees. It is simply easier not to try something like this that may not necessarily work well and may not be worth the efforts you put into making it happen.

2. Fear of Position Loss

Leaders who are in lower management positions can sometimes fear that if their employees are empowered then they will lose their leadership positions. In theory, if employees can make their own decisions and do more for themselves, management positions could be consolidated or removed entirely.

3. Inconsistency

There are two levels of inconsistency that can occur. First, leaders may be afraid that their employees will make inconsistent decisions that will lead to customer dissatisfaction. If one employee makes the choice to handle a problem one way for a customer, but another employee makes the opposite decision later on, that customer can become very dissatisfied with the service they were provided.
The second instance of inconsistency is when the leader is not consistent enough in their efforts to promote empowerment. It is necessary for leaders to stay the course and not deviate back towards complete hands-on management. If employees can’t be sure that they will remain with the power to make their own decisions, they will be less motivated to stay empowered.

4. Reliance on Programs 

Empowerment programs are not particularly effective for all workplaces, because empowerment needs to be tailored to fit the specific working environment. Leaders who rely on these types of things have probably seen that they are not particularly effective and will be unmotivated to use any sort of empowerment programs again in the future.

5. Lack of Clear Empowerment Goals

Leaders that have different definitions of empowerment than their employees won’t be able to achieve anything substantial. Both employers and employees need to be clear on what sort of empowerment goals they are reaching towards. “Be more empowered” is not a clear enough goal. Instead, “recommend alternative solutions” or “handle small tasks on your own” are clearer goals to reach for.

6. Wrong Perceptions

Sometimes leaders imagine that customers and employees are both conniving and are working against the company. Because of this, they are more hesitant to allow employees to make their own decisions. If the customer tricks the employee, they might make a costly mistake. If the employees are working against the company, they might make decisions that are counter to what’s best for the company. These perceptions prove to be false most of the time, but they do still exist.

7. Working Roles

Employees that are very stuck in the specific roles of their jobs will not be as willing to become empowered. Roles that are highly rigid and structured can keep employees from wanting to go the extra mile or take more steps to get things done on their own.

employee engagement infographic – An infographic by the team at Dale Carnegie Training Employee Engagement Infographic

Conclusion

At the end of the day it all comes down to the culture you foster within the workplace. Getting everyone on board and empowered takes work but it is usually worth it in the end. One strategy is to sit down with your team and establish a team charter that will align the companies goals and values with that of the individual’s goals and values. This helps to set the direction of where the team is heading and reaffirms the reasons why they work for the company in the first place as they need to feel good about the work they are doing and the positive impact it has on the team and the greater community.

Team charters also go a long way specifically outlining each person’s role and what they are responsible for. Remember you have hired these individuals for a reason so let them shine at what they are great at and they will be far more engaged and empowered.

5 Common Mistakes Team Leaders Make

It’s not uncommon to hear people say that everyone makes mistakes. Although this seems to be common knowledge, there is still very little grace for those in positions of leadership who make mistakes on the job. Many mistakes that leaders make are simple issues that could have been handled differently if the leader was more aware ahead of time.

With that in mind, I want to talk about some of the frequent mistakes that are made by team leaders and how you can avoid making them yourself.

5 Common Mistakes That Team Leaders Make

How Mistakes Can Influence Your Leadership

In many circumstances, it’s possible to learn from making mistakes. However, experience can be a hard teacher and a very unforgiving mentor. Taking the wrong steps might be harmless on a number of occasions, but it can also be toxic to your career, your ambitions, and your personal life.

The biggest problem with learning from experience alone is that you may not find out you were making a mistake until it’s been going on for years or it’s too late to change. Maybe you will become a better leader afterwards, but you may have lost an opportunity that you otherwise would have kept if you had avoided that mistake entirely.

Common Mistakes for Team Leaders

My point with this article is to help you avoid some of the most common leadership mistakes by making you aware of them and helping you sidestep the issues as they come. These are the 5 most common mistakes that team leaders make:

1. Making Uninformed Decisions or Emotional Decisions

Decision-making is a logical process in a business environment. Whereas you might base a personal decision off of your emotions or incomplete information, a business decision needs more thought and more energy put into it. When you get information about anything that will influence a decision, it’s best to look for more information on the topic before you actually finalize a decision.

For example, if you are deciding which company trucks to buy you need to consult the drivers, clients, company records, and other sources of information instead of simply talking with the salesperson and finding an option that sounds good from your point of view. Different viewpoints and extra knowledge can help you to make better choices for the good of the company.

Equally as important is to avoid making decisions at work based on your emotions. No one should be hired or fired based on emotions, and no company decisions should be made because of your feelings on the issue. It’s important to make the distinction between values and emotions because while values might make you feel a certain emotion about a situation they will not cause the same rash decision-making as emotions. Think logically and be able to show your team the rationale and reasons behind your choice.

 

Leaders Making mistakes quote

image source: www.workwithlisawalker.com

2. Completing Unfinished Projects for Yourself

 

If you’ve delegated a task to your team and they send it back to you unfinished, poorly done, or not quite correct then you need to resist the urge to fix it up on your own. This is okay to do in certain circumstances, such as when a deadline is looming close and there’s no time to spare or if you have given instructions to you want to edit the project before it’s submitted fully.

However, you should not accept work that’s not done correctly or is not finished entirely, unless there has been some communication about it beforehand and you came to and understanding with the employees. When you delegate tasks, you should expect them to be completely properly. If you spend all your time going back over work that your team has done or finished up unfinished projects, you won’t have enough spare time left for your own work.

Part of being a leader is delegating tasks and expecting that work to be done with excellence. Otherwise, you aren’t really leading your team at all.

3. Shying Away from Healthy Conflict

Conflict is a natural part of healthy human interactions. You cannot expect your team to operate at its best if they are not allowed to have conflicts of any kind. The trick is to keep things from getting out of hand and this can be done by creating a culture where healthy conflict is accepted. Allowing healthy conflicts to take place so that employees can express their different viewpoints, opinions and discuss the merits of their ideas over others’ ideas. 

4. Acting without Help Consistently

It’s unhealthy for you to run to a mentor or superior for every decision that must be made, but it’s also a bad choice to act alone on everything. When you need help, seek it out. This helps to set the standard for your employees as well, letting them know that it’s okay to ask for help when necessary in the workplace. No one is perfect!

5. Allowing Too Much Team Autonomy

Autonomous teams are those that can operate on their own without too much supervision. Empowerment is a wonderful thing in most workplaces, but it’s also not something you should expect from every employee unless they have proven themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone on your team is going to be a self-motivated, dedicated worker that will get everything done on time without supervision.

Because of this, it’s a mistake not to check up on progress, get consistent reports, and make sure everything is running smoothly. Don’t expect employees to come to you every time they have problems or to check in and let you know how their work is coming along. Instead, do the legwork and go find out for yourself how your employees are doing.

All leaders make mistakes. They are a part of life. Successful leaders recognize their errors, learn from them, and work to correct their faults. - John C. Maxwell

Recovering from Making a Mistake

Mistakes don’t have to be fatal to your career. If you acknowledge that you made a mistake, take responsibility for it, and learn how to avoid that mistake again in the future then you will be able to recover well and will usually regain employee trust also. On the other hand, acting like it wasn’t a big deal, failing to acknowledge the mistake, or passing on the blame will ruin your standing with employees and will not help you progress past your mistake. Learn how to handle it well when you do mess up.

Conclusion

It’s common to make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn about mistakes that are frequently made and try to avoid them for yourself. After all, if you can side-step a puddle in the road, isn’t that better than simply walking through it? Learn from this list of mistakes and pay attention so that you can correct yourself before you make any of these common mistakes.

 


Team Building helps build better leaders!

Total Team Building specialise in teams…we facilitate a range of team building activities that help build team morale, trust, leadership & communication within a team. For more information about how Total Team Building can help you contact us today.

Raising Up Others: Why Leaders Need to Train Others to Take Their Place

Leadership is not a one size fits all concept that you can slip over every situation. It looks different in many different situations. While there are many principles that apply to leaders in all areas, they must be adapted to fit the specifics of every situation. One principle that is somewhat controversial in some circles is the idea that great leaders train up their replacements – even when they’re not planning on leaving the job.

Why Leaders Need To Train Others to Take Their Place

Developing Others in Leadership

Few people are born into the world of being great leaders, but the majority of people can learn the skills it takes to lead well. However, they will need someone to help them develop those skills. This is where senior leadership staff, fit in. If you have any leadership experience at all, then you have valuable knowledge that can be passed on to the next generation of leaders in your workplace.

Developing leaders means that you’re training those under you to rise into leadership positions. In many cases, you’re training them to do the job you’re currently doing.

A Leader Shows The Way Quote

The Redundancy Argument

A popular argument is usually raised whenever there’s a discussion of training your employees to do your job. The argument is that if you teach someone to do your job, they will be able to replace you and will make you a redundant employee. If there’s another employee capable of doing your job, who won’t ask for as high of a salary, then you may just end up losing your job to the very person you trained.

It’s easy to see where this fear comes from, but it’s actually not founded in proper thinking about leadership. Training up your staff and developing their leadership capabilities does not mean they will replace you, but it does make you infinitely more valuable to your organization and it opens up opportunities for you to move up.

A New Perspective on Leadership Development

Having more employees that are focused on solving problems and accomplishing goals is excellent for any organization. It’s even better if those employees are given the tools they need and are motivated to lead the company to the right solutions. If you as a leader have to dictate everything your staff members should do, then you’re not doing a good job and you are creating a stressful job for yourself.

If you want to be irreplaceable to a company, train your employees to replace you. This will give your company many more qualified, skilled leader’s to drive company progress forward. It will also bring up productivity in the workplace, especially when teams are involved because each person is going to feel more responsible for their own work and will be more willing to contribute positively.

Develop your team by allowing them to think outside of the box and come up with solutions to problems on their own. When you act like a dictator and demand to be in control of every decision that’s made, without accepting input or seeing what your team has to say, then you are creating a stagnant work environment that will not make you look good for promotion or accomplish company goals.

Conclusion

When leaders train their staff to be their replacement by developing leadership skills in the team, they manage to create an exciting, desirable, and productive workplace. You will also make your importance more obvious to the company, even though there are now others who can do your job as well. It’s vital that you take hold of the idea of developing your team to be able to replace you because this is the only way to make a truly successful workplace and a clear forward path upwards for yourself.


Build better leaders Today!

Total Team Building specialise in teams…we facilitate a range of team building activities that help build team morale, trust, leadership & communication within a team. For more information about how Total Team Building can help you contact us today.

What Are The Characteristics of a Natural Leader?

You have probably heard something to the effect of “he/she is a natural leader” during your life, whether they were talking about you or someone else. You have probably also met someone who was naturally good at leadership, but have you ever considered what it is that makes someone a natural leader or not?

Characteristics of Natural Leader

How to Spot a Natural Leader

It’s easy enough to see when someone is a good leader or when they aren’t, but does that mean it comes naturally to them? Not necessarily. There are, however, a few things that can help you spot someone who is a natural leader early on.

It’s easy enough to see when someone is a good leader or when they aren’t, but does that mean it comes naturally to them? Not necessarily. There are, however, a few things that can help you spot someone who is a natural leader early on.

Being able to lead naturally does not mean that the leader knows what they’re doing. In some cases, you can see a person who is naturally surrounded by others who do what they do. They empower people and inspire them, whether it’s intentional or not.

A natural leader is usually the center of a group of people. This doesn’t mean everyone who is the center of their group of friends is a natural leader, but it can be an early indicator. In most cases a natural leader will not be trying to lead, they are just being themselves and following their vision while others choose to go along with them.

You can see in the cases of young people that are naturally gifted leaders that there is usually a streak of rebellion and problems with authority. Natural leaders are not usually good at following others, they are more interested in pursuing what they think is a good idea and a better way of doing things.

Leadership Quote

Are Natural Leaders Aware of Their Leadership Talents?

It’s not very common that a natural leader will see themselves as such until they grow a bit older. When someone is young they may just assume that this is how people are and that they are the same as everyone else. However, as they grow older and learn more about the world they will become more aware of their talents in leading others.

Some people are aware that they are natural leaders early on, but for most people they don’t really know they are inspiring others and leading people right away. Since they are just being themselves and not trying to be the leader, it doesn’t necessarily occur to them that they are being leaders. When something comes naturally, we don’t always recognize it for what it is until others point it out to us.

Characteristics of a Natural Leader

So, what exactly makes someone a naturally good leader? Everyone is different, of course, but these are the main traits that define natural leadership abilities:

Personality Traits

  • Extrovert
    Being talkative and likeable makes you easier to follow. It helps people relate to you on a more personal level, which is always great for leadership.
  • Thick Skinned
    Everyone in the world has their own opinions and some of them might be about you. Most natural leaders can let negative words and opinions roll off of them without trouble.
  • Confident
    Confidence is one trait that nearly all natural leaders possess because a leader without confidence cannot inspire confidence in those who are following them.
  • High Emotional Intelligence (Empathy)
    Being able to understand the way others are feeling and empathize with them helps someone to become a more trusted and liked leader.
  • Hard Working
    You’ll almost never see a lazy person in a naturally given leadership position. If they aren’t hard working, most people won’t be as willing to follow after them. For a short time maybe, but not in the long term.
  • Open Minded
    Some leaders are closed minded and closed off, but not in the beginning. Most people who are natural born leaders have a very open mind compared to the average person and are willing to accept different ideas.
  • Observant
    Observation is a key to getting to know people and see what’s going on all around you. If someone cannot properly observe what’s going on, they cannot make good decisions and will not be able to lead as well.
  • Energetic
    Have you ever met someone you would say is a natural leader that doesn’t have a certain energy level to keep going and pursuing their passions? It’s common for leaders to have high energy levels.

Learned Traits

  • Strategic Thinking
    You don’t have to start out as a strategic thinker, but many natural leaders learn to become more strategic as they come into their leadership abilities.
  • Decisive
    Observing the environment is one thing, but natural leaders usually learn very quickly how to make a decision based on what they see.
  • Good Communication
    When natural leaders are young they might not understand the value of communication, but as they grow older it’s a somewhat naturally learned trait as they figure out that people are more willing to follow someone who can communicate with them more clearly.
  • Wise
    Wisdom doesn’t come to the young, but as a natural leader grows up and starts to understand their role they will pick up wisdom along the way.
  • Loyal
    Young leaders can have traces of loyalty, but you have to learn loyalty by facing situations that test it.
  • Inclusive
    It’s difficult for younger leaders to focus on including others. However, many natural leaders pick up this trait as they go on.

Natural Leaders Are Born, Not Made

There’s an adage that says “Leaders are not born; they’re made”. This may be true for the most part, but natural leaders actually are born that way. The catch is that just because someone is a natural leader does not mean they will be a good leader, a proud leader, or a useful leader.

Leaders Can Be Made

Natural leadership is a gift that not many have, and it can be of great use to those who embrace it and learn how to polish that skill. In the end, leadership is a skill. Those born with the natural traits of a good leader can go on to be great leaders with knowledge and practice, but others can also learn to be good leaders by embracing the right training and acquiring the necessary knowledge.

Whether leadership is natural to you or not, you can still become a good leader.


Team Building helps build better leaders!

Total Team Building specialise in teams…we facilitate a range of team building activities that help build team morale, trust, leadership & communication within a team. For more information about how Total Team Building can help you contact us today.

Leadership is a Skill: How to Practice Leading People

Over the years it has been discovered and proved that leadership is not only for those born with a certain set of prime characteristics. Leaders rely on influence over those placed under their order, rather than relying on the authority given to them from whatever source.

Because influence is something we can have an effect on with our words and actions, leadership can also be affected by what we do. If you want to become a better leader, whether you’re in a leadership position now or not, what can you do to improve those skills?

Managers vs Leaders: Is There a Difference?

Leading people by developing leadership skills

Most Leaders Are Made, Not Born

It’s rare that you find anyone who is good at leadership from a young age and into their later years. Even if you do find someone like that, it’s often necessary for them to be trained in leadership skills to become an excellent leader.

Many leaders you see today have been training in leadership skills for years. CEOs, Presidents, politicians, military leaders, etc. All of these positions are trained in leadership at some point to build on what they already know and make them into leaders that are truly up to the task of handling the positions of power they hold.

No matter how good someone is at leading people naturally, they can always improve with training. Similarly, even if you are bad at leading currently you can also become better at it by purposefully practicing skills that are used every day in leadership situations.

Should a Leader Allow Employees to Fail in Order to Learn?

 How to Practice Leadership Skills

What skills are needed to be an effective leader? Here are some main skills and how you can practice in your daily life at work or in social situations:

  1. Initiative

Going out of your way to take on new assignments and get stuff done without being asked can help you to be more comfortable with taking initiative. This is something leaders do frequently when working on any projects. The ability to get things done is very important for a leader.

  1. Motivational Skills

It’s not directly your job to motivate your employees, but you need to create an atmosphere that will provide motivation to those who are looking for it. All motivation is self-motivation. You cannot force someone to become motivated, but you can put the circumstances in place that will bring more motivation to your followers.

  1. Problem Solving

Critical thinking and the ability to solve problems with innovative and creative solutions is an invaluable leadership skill. You can practice this at work by thinking deeply about a task that you have to do and deciding on at least 3 – 5 ways it could be done other than the way you’re currently doing it.

  1. Listening

Hearing and understanding what people are saying to you is vital to making a proper decision and meeting the needs of the people you are leading. Don’t just let your ears hear what people are saying to you; really focus on what they are telling you and learn whatever you can from the encounter. Learning to listen well will give you more sources for ideas, a better feel of what your subordinates need, and a more loyal staff.

  1. Self-Discipline

Leading requires you to hold yourself to a higher standard than those under you. It’s not wise to ask your followers to do something you are not already doing or willing to do (if you have the skills to do the task, that is.). Practice discipline by keeping a schedule in your personal life or being committed to doing a few specific things well and often. For example, you can practice self-discipline by starting a morning exercise routine and sticking to it without fail., thick or thin.

  1. Giving and Accepting Assistance

Leaders need to learn to delegate tasks. If you’re not currently a leader, you can practice this by asking for help and being willing to help others with their issues.

  1. Conflict Resolution

Not only should you learn to keep yourself away from unnecessary conflicts, you need to develop the skill of resolving conflicts between others or between yourself and another. Learn methods of resolving conflicts through healthy communications and critical thinking.

  1. Constant Learning

Leaders who do not learn as they go will not be good leaders. If you want to be as competitive as possible, you need to constantly be on the top of your game and in touch with new information that’s coming out in your industry. Don’t stop reading and trying to learn!

How Can Leadership Create and Encourage Teamwork?

Conclusion

Leadership is a skill that is composed of many smaller skills. If you practice and improve these smaller skills, you will improve your overall ability to lead others.

Take the time to learn about what you need to be able to do to lead well and practice those things. If not, you won’t be able to reach your full leadership potential!


Are You Leading People?… Team Building helps foster a learning environment where you can practice your leadership skills?

Total Team Building specialise in teams…we facilitate a range of fun based team building activities that can help build essential leadership skills that can assist your delegates in leading people. For more information about how Total Team Building can help you contact us today.

How To Convince Your Team to Buy Into Change

The Problem With Change Management

When we hear the word “change”, a lot of different thoughts and emotions can come to our minds. Change in your personal life might make you a bit excited or anxious, yet changes at work nearly always make people feel uneasy, angry, sad, lethargic, and a handful of other negative emotions. Some employees might be excited for the upcoming changes, but the majority will be feeling some version of upset.

Why do employees resist change so much? What makes workplace change so much more difficult to handle than other types of change? These are the issues that face any team leader as they approach a time of change management. This article will talk about some of the most effective ways of dealing with change and helping to convince your team members that it is a good thing which they should embrace. These are strategies that have been put into practice and proven to be useful over the years.

How to manage change within your team

What To Do To Help Your Team Adapt To Changes

  1. Consider Bringing in Help.

Going it alone might make the process of change more difficult than it should be for you as a leader. If you can bring in a company or consultant who specializes in transitions and corporate or team change they might give you great direction on how to proceed while also supporting you in taking the necessary actions with your team.

  1. Be Patient, But Persistent.

Remember that not everyone will embrace this change at the same rate. Some team members are going to buy into the ideas very quickly. The majority of people will take a little longer, but not too long. Unfortunately, there is nearly always a small group of people who might take months or even years to fully adapt to the change being made.

No matter what, you can’t forget these employees as they are still a part of your team. They have experienced some form of change trauma, and that can be hard to recover from unless you are well supported and moved into the new system properly. Stand your ground on the fact that this change is both necessary and beneficial, but give them the time they need to see that for themselves as well. Don’t force anything on your employees that will make them feel rushed and uncomfortable.

  1. Demonstrate Why Change is Necessary.

Find something solid and visible that proves the need for the change which is being made. This might be something to do with one of your products, a video about the inefficiency, pictures of something which is going wrong in the company or for the consumer, or anything else. The point of this is to show your team what’s happening and why it’s bad for business.

Speak to your team logically and reasonably if you want a better chance at winning them over. During uncertain times, it’s good for team morale if the leader is doing a good job at presenting the evidence of a need for change while also showing the chosen solution to the problem.

  1. Practice Empathy.

Your team members will all be feeling differently about this upcoming or current change, and you MUST acknowledge those feelings as valid and respond to the concerns raised by employees. One way that some companies have achieved this is by hosting an anonymous forum for employee discussions about the changes which are taking place. A facilitator will host the forum and share with you whatever information is gained during that time. This allows you to accurately know what emotions and feelings your team is feeling and respond appropriately.

  1. Begin Making Changes Early.

If at all possible, start introducing small changes long before a final, larger change is made. This will give employees time to adapt to some of the new work practices rather than having them launch into an entirely new environment suddenly. If they begin to feel comfortable with the new changes you have implemented, then they will at least have something to hold onto which will not disappear when change comes.

  1. Be Honest and Open.

One of the single most important things you can do to ease your team through change and to help them buy in is to communicate openly and honestly. Honesty from a leader is always important, but change in the workplace tends to bring out the worst in employee-management relations. Many of your team members may feel as if trust has been broken, especially if there was any downsizing or layoffs during the change process.

Communicating openly and being honest with your team are the only ways to start building that trust back up and helping your team to come to terms with the new way of operating.

The Importance Of Good Leadership During Change

Not many leaders particularly enjoy implementing large changes in the workplace, as it is impossible to truly predict what you will be facing from your employees. However, good leadership is the only thing that can bring a team through the change management process without everything falling apart.

Closing Thoughts

In today’s dynamic business atmosphere, change is nearly inevitable for every company regardless of the industry. Change happens, but how you manage that change can make the difference between high rates of team acceptance and rates of rejection or rebellion. Choose to use the best practices and make your change management as smooth of a process as possible.

 

 


About Total Team Building

Total Team Building specialise in teams…we facilitate fun engaging experiential team building activities designed to enhance team culture, leadership, communication and collaboration. For more information about how Total Team Building can help you and your team contact us today.

Managers vs Leaders: Is There a Difference?

Running a Team: Managers Versus Leaders

The terms “manager” and “leader” used to be used interchangeably; however, in more recent years a difference in usage has developed for those separate terms. Managers are said to be responsible for maintaining operations, organising, and controlling short-term administrative duties. Leaders, on the other hand, are those who motivate people, think long term, and create new innovations by not following the status quo.

What separates these two roles in a team? Can a single person act as both of these? Here are a few of the main things that separate leaders and managers:

Managers vs Leaders Is There A Difference

What Are The Differences Between a Manager And a Leader? 

These listed differences are based off of general usage of the two terms in a business context and are not specific to any industry, organisation, or type of team.

  1. Managers are not necessarily responsible for the vision and goals of a team.

The main purpose of a managerial position is to maintain the current best practices in an organisation. This means that managers don’t have as much freedom to deviate based on what they believe are the best goals for the team. Leaders are the ones who sit down and think ahead to develop a vision for the team as well as goals to be reached by the team. These will be passed on to management to implement in most cases.

  1. Leaders tend to make individual plans rather than implementing those given to them.

A team leader has more control over what the team should be doing at any given time. Rather than taking plans from higher bosses and using those for their team, they will be the ones figuring out what the best course of action is and delegating tasks to team members.

  1. Managers are more reactive, leaders are proactive

Managers are in place to look at what’s going on in the business and choose the best response from their training and guidance. Leaders are expected to look ahead and change direction to navigate around any incoming obstacles.

  1. Leaders are required to problem solve, managers report problems or use set solutions.

Similarly to point number 3, good leaders require the ability to problem solve. They have to be able to adapt and adjust to the dynamic environment around them in order to find the absolute best way to solve a problem. Managers are more likely to be the ones who are reporting issues they are seeing and asking for a way to continue forward with solving the problem. This is partially because a manager may not have the same freedoms that a leader does in the way the team should be led.

  1. Managers choose the best strategy to use, leaders create new business strategies.

As a manager, you are trained in business strategy and taught about which responses are most appropriate for different situations. You do not necessarily come up with the strategy, but you are the one who is tasked with making sure it is implemented and followed. Leaders are those who will be taking the time to study the external and internal environments around the business and deciding in what ways the team can act in order to reach the goals most effectively.

  1. Leaders are knowledgeable in many areas, managers specialise in one or two.

Specialisation can be a big advantage for managers as they are mainly concerned with a few specific functions of the team. Leaders have to have a broader knowledge of all aspects of the team and the organisation as well as the industry so that they can perform their expected duties with excellence.

Managers vs Leaders Infographic

Your Leadership Style 

As an authority figure over your team, you have to periodically ask yourself this question: are you a leader or a manager? You don’t necessarily have to fit into all of the normal roles of either and can easily adapt characteristics of both a leader and a manager at different points in your career and depending on the needs of your team.

Leadership is not a static thing. It must be fluid and ever-changing as the circumstances of your business change. Learn to take on the necessary traits of both a manager and a leader whenever they are needed so that you can bring the best out of your team at all times.

 


 

About Total Team Building

Total Team Building specialise in teams…we facilitate fun engaging experiential team building activities designed to enhance leadership, communication and collaboration. For more information about how Total Team Building can help you and your team contact us today.