Where is your focus when you arrive at work? Are you thinking as a leader or manager?
One of the main factors that distinguish a leader from a manager, is that that leaders lead by inspiration, whereas managers will coordinate people and tasks.
From time to time, however, as leaders, we can find ourselves taking on a little more of the workload. Often we’ve been chosen to lead the team because we believe in the project or task we’re working on. We have a connection to it, or a passion about it, and we want to see it done well. That makes it all too easy to slip into a ‘doing’ role.
And when we’re ‘doing’, we’re not leading; we’re not inspiring the team to achieve bigger and better things. It becomes an issue when we become so focused on the tasks at hand, on all of the doing that needs to be done, that we become less aware of what’s happening within the team.
Ultimately, we drop the ball when it comes to really listening to the team and seeing what is actually going on. We may hear some complaints or comments, but where we once would have delved deeper into the words said, we tend to take them at face value.
Think about where your mind goes when you arrive at work. Does it suddenly flood with thoughts like “I must check on that” or “I’ll get X onto that job.” Those are task-focused thoughts and they don’t belong in your head.
You have a team to manage the tasks, and they will do that very well as long as you don’t try to manage them. Of course they’ll think you don’t trust them to do the job properly.
But it’s you who isn’t doing the job properly. While your mind is buzzing with ‘doing’ thoughts, you aren’t picking up on the critical information your team is giving you. You’re not really hearing them. You’re not seeing them. You’re not picking up on the undercurrents and unspoken information that can make or break team performance. You’re not using the instincts which made you a leader in the first place.
Without this critical information, you are missing out on the ‘why’ of your team’s performance. You don’t know who needs help or who has a brilliant idea that could revolutionise your project. You don’t know if your team is even still with you!
Too often projects go belly-up and no-one can explain why. And that’s plain wrong. The leader should know exactly what happened. If he or she doesn’t, they are probably been managing rather than leading. It becomes easy to start to ‘boss’ rather than to lead when you’re not really present.
Although it may be essential that you do some of the doing, it’s more important that you don’t become so caught up that you forget to lead. Be present, and direct your focus to where it matters the most; on your team and being their inspirational and motivational leader.
If you need a little extra support to stop being busy at the doing, contact the team at LeadershipHQ, we offer a FREE 15 minute advice and coaching line at 1300 719 665 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616