You're the boss. So you're a “manager” and a “leader”, (and those are two different things).
You “manage things”, but you “lead” people.
You manage things like schedules, budgets, and forecasts. And all you need is a laptop and software. Schedules, budgets, and forecasts are work products that YOU produce. They're YOUR management tasks.
“Leadership” is different. You're influencing the work product of others. And that's a whole different kind of challenge. You can't just connect with the laptop and software. You have to connect with their “hearts and minds”.
It's hard! You have to be intentional about leadership because these management tasks keep getting in the way!
Management tasks have triggers and deadlines. You forecast monthly, you submit reports weekly, and you manage schedules daily. And most of these management tasks are requested by, or go right to your boss, so THEY come first.
The other thing about management routines is that they breed meetings: “planning meetings”, “budget meetings”, and “forecast meetings”.
When you add up all the time you spend on management tasks and management meetings, there's not much time left for leadership duties!
That's why you have to be “intentional”. And there are three ways you can be an intentional leader:
- You can “hack” management routines.
- You can “grow” leadership habits,
- You can “multiply” leadership habits.
And I want to explain each:
You “hack” management routines, because they're already hardwired into your week! Let's say you get updates from employees weekly, and you use those updates to plan, schedule, and forecast. You can hack that management routine with one little leadership habit. And here's an example - maybe you use the end of the discussion to do a “wellness check”. Just check on how the employee is doing. That's an example of hacking management routines.
Try it with one employee, and if it works, implement that same hack with every one of your employees. And that's an example of how you “grow” a habit.
Once you've grown the habit, you can “multiply the habit”. And here's an example - you rotate your leadership habits weekly. Let's go back to that same hack where you're having your weekly update -
- Maybe week one of your weekly update with your employee, you do that wellness check.
- Week two, you solicit or give feedback.
- Week three, you engage in coaching.
- And week four, you set aside to focus solely on the employee's developmental action plan.
These are three strategies for being an “intentional leader”:
- “Hacking” an existing management routine,
- “Growing” your leadership habits,
- And then “multiplying” those habits.
Remember, management and leadership are two different concepts AND they're sibling rivals. They're sibling rivals because they're competing for your limited time and attention.
You have to be intentional about leadership habits or you're going to spend all your time running from management task to management task.
It might make you an effective “manager”, but you'll never become a “complete leader”.