Tag Archives: juggling

juggling skateboarder

Are you Getting In Your Own Way?

Being a Manager is hard! You are always getting in your own way. You see, being a business owner who wants to grow means being not only a manager but also a leader (as well as many other hats).  And that is like juggling jelly, whilst on a skateboard rolling downhill, and hosting a talk show at the same time.  Trust me – I know. 

But unlike the jelly juggling skateboarder – it IS actually possible. Unless you are getting in your own way, of course.

Let’s look at how you might be getting in your own way

Leadership is about setting the vision. It’s about you – or the vision – or both, being so inspiring that people believe they can achieve whatever goals are set and come out as winners.  They mirror your behaviour.  Here’s where you can clearly see the first hurdle.

If, as a Leader, you say one thing but do another – then people will follow what you do not what you say.  And here’s the irony.  Because – as the Leader, you might work late into the evening which nobody sees – because they have all gone home, or they are working from home.  But if you are 5 minutes “late” in the morning, that sets the wrong tone.  Especially if you are also ‘the manager’.

The Manager is the one that sets the standards, monitors the activity, and passes down the goals and practical steps that are needed to achieve the vision.  They may or may not be inspiring, but they are there to make sure that things get done.

It is hard to be both a manager and a leader. 

The skill sets required of those two roles are quite disparate, and you may find yourself more naturally in one role than another.  Which role are you not as strong in? That will be where you are getting in your own way.

The Good Leader

If you are a good leader but a poor manager then you will find that your team loves being around you, they find you motivating and empathic.  You have time for them, and you make them feel invincible. 

But if you are not managing them correctly you will find them going down the wrong path. They don’t have the skills they need, or they don’t understand the ‘rules’ or where their authority starts or stops.  They don’t meet deadlines but they are full of great ideas.

The Good Manager

If you are a good manager, then things will be done as you direct.  You are in charge of the ship.  But if you are not a good leader, you will find yourself working harder and harder, having to think of all the ideas yourself, having no one that steps up to take some of the load.

If you are a good leader and notice that your team is not doing as well as they should, you will probably feel guilty – you have asked them to do stuff but haven’t trained them or shown them how to.  Maybe they are capable you think, and you shouldn’t have asked them.  So you start taking things back from them and doing more yourself.

If you are a good manager,  but not a great leader, you might find yourself wanting to control everything (after all that is a manager’s job) but taking it too far.  You may feel let down by the team’s lack of initiative and therefore take on more and more of the hands-on job yourself.

In both these scenarios, the end is the same.  You are working too hard.  You are doing stuff you shouldn’t be doing as the manager and/or leader of your business.  And you are NOT doing your job.  You are not being strategic, thinking about the future, the solutions that you need to find because you are too blooming busy doing the do.

Your business can’t grow until you grow.

As a result, the business can’t move forward.  It can’t grow, and not only that, you cant even take a day off because everything would fall apart if you weren’t there.  Well, maybe you CAN take a single day off, but a holiday?  Without constantly being on your phone or laptop?  Not a chance. 

Henry Ford, amongst others, has been attributed as saying

“If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Got.”

Henry Ford and others

And what does that actually mean?

Well, it means – if you want things to be different you have to change them.  And that means changing you first.  You can’t just dictate that your team must do things differently from now on if you manage or lead in exactly the same way.  If you do, then in a week, or a month or 6 months time, nothing will have changed. 

Don’t be like a 1960’s parent saying

“Don’t’ do what I do, do what I tell you”. 

Your Grandparents, possibly…

It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. 

If you’d like to know how to (metaphorically) juggle jelly whilst skateboarding downhill hosting a talk show – drop me an email at julie@thinkbedoleadership.com.  It’s a great subject for a virtual coffee! 

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