"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 yet manage schedules daily. And most of these management tasks are requested 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, 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, three strategies:
- You can hack management routines.
- You can grow leadership habits, or
- You can multiply leadership habits.
And I want to explain each.
You have 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 for you, 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 a 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.
So 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 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 be a shitty leader and that's not what we're after."
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