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#Lead Vs. Manage


There’s a huge difference between managing your team and leading your team. Effectively leading your team can increase employee engagement and innovation, drive sales, decrease employee turnover all the while, boosting your bottom line. You have the vision of where you want your business to go. Now, all you need to do is inspire your employees to see that vision and work towards achieving it. This can be done through leadership. Becoming a leader that your employees will respect and admire is possible and it will be the best investment you make. So...how do you lead vs. manage?

Open Communication

Leaders are approachable. Being able to communicate with employees is an important leadership quality. Employees shouldn’t be nervous to come to you with questions. Likewise, you should be direct with employees when things come up in your business.

Let employees know that you are always available to talk. If they have professional or personal problems that are getting in the way of their jobs, lend an ear. Plus, getting to know your employees can help you learn what motivates them. Leaders are direct, clear and honest with employees. You can foster a culture of communication by conducting semi-annual performance reviews, having regular meetings with employees, and emphasizing that your door is always open. That way, you can keep employees updated on what’s happening in your business, and employees can feel comfortable talking with you. If you’re not sure where to start, ask employees how they are doing. Show that you are genuinely interested in getting to know them. Little steps toward communicating more effectively with employees can help you hone your leadership skills.

Respect

Have you ever been led by someone who has the motto, "Do as I say, not as I do?" I have and I can tell you from experience, you lose respect for your leader real quick. Being on the receiving end of issued commands and expectations that it will magically happen are not qualities of a leader. Model respect to your employees and they will show you respect back. One easy way to show respect to your employees is with your body language. If they are speaking with you, be sure you're tentatively listening, sounds silly but make eye contact with them and smile. Avoid looking at your phone or computer when they are talking. With respect you can get others to follow you, and getting people to follow you (and your vision) is a key to good business. When someone feels valued and respected at work, they will happily do more than is expected.

Help them see their purpose

Everyone wants to feel valued and as a leader, you need to show employees how their positions fit into achieving the business’s mission and everyone is a part of the team that is working towards that vision. You can help employees find meaning in their work by properly training them. Go over their responsibilities in depth, then give a rundown of why their work is important and how it will contribute to your small business growth strategy. Once employees know their purpose, you might think it’s up to them to engage with their position. But, there are other things you can do to lead and motivate them. You can do this by setting individual or team goals, setting up friendly competitions, or offering incentives.

Delegation

This was one of the hardest things I had to learn. I thought delegating was being bossy and putting work on others. Little did I know that delegation brings freedom and empowerment to not only the leader but also to the employee. The easiest way to delegate is to find an employee who has the skill set needed for the task. Then, ask them to do the task and report back to you. Having them give you updates on the task will allow you the opportunity to know the status and provide feedback. Proficient employees will grow weary running to the boss for every decision that needs to be made. So, delegate some tasks to your employees. Delegation engages employees and allows them a chance to grow and face new challenges. With delegation, the employees will get a sense that their manager trusts them and that will encourage employees to become high contributors to the business.

Provide Autonomy

Leaders give employees the freedom to come up with innovative ideas or processes on their own. Business leaders must be confident in their hiring decisions so they know that employees are skilled enough to work independently.

Micromanaging is the process of controlling everything employees do. It can demoralize employees, limit creativity, and result in frustrated workers.

Involve your Team in Decision Making

Business leaders value what their employees have to say. They recognize that employees are invaluable assets to business growth. Asking employees for input shows that you value and respect their opinions and trust their decisions. It also shows that you are willing to share your leadership role and delegate tasks.

Business leaders value what their employees have to say. They recognize that employees are invaluable assets to business growth. Asking employees for input shows that you value and respect their opinions and trust their decisions. It also shows that you are willing to share your leadership role and delegate tasks.

Fostering communication, modeling respect, providing autonomy as well as delegating tasks have all helped me but to be truly successful as a leader, I learned how to empower my employees. What ways do you empower your employees? Are there areas of your leadership that need to be fine-tuned to allow others to be empowered?

xoxo,