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Monica Wofford, CSP, teaches leaders to understand and improve their own leadership in using practice, skills, and desire as their three areas of focus.

“Two ears and a what?”

This week we’ve Marveled More and Managed Less (see Monday’s post) and we’ve looked at how Managing Conflict does NOT begin with the words “Isn’t That Special” (Wednesday’s post). But the concept of Managing to Lead is one that also deserves our attention.

It’s no secret that Managing and Leading are two different things and yes, we use the terms synonymously often. The key difference in my opinion is that Managers manage stuff and leaders lead people. Of course, anyone with a dictionary in front of the will also find that Webster’s defines Manager as, in fact, “one who manages”. Wow! Never the less, manager’s spend much of their time dealing with things that require management. Notice, I didn’t say people did… and they don’t. They’ve somehow managed to lead their lives all the way up until the time you walked into their life, so lead them and here are some ways to do just that…even if your title just says you are a manager.

  • Remind yourself that while timesheets won’t talk back, people do. Manage stuff, lead people.
  • Talk with those you lead as if you respect them immensely, or better yet learn how to actually respect them so you don’t have to “act as if”.
  • Take time to listen to the needs of those you lead even when you feel time would be better spent on your list of “things to do”
  • Remind yourself that this is the team you have the privilege of leading, not the team privileged to have you as their boss, or even worse, “My Team” or “My People”. When did you “buy” a flock of folks?
  • Consider the ratio of having two ears and one mouth and use them in that ratio.
  • Watch the temptation to lead via auto pilot. Powerful, contagiously positive leadership efforts take conscious thought. The moment you get comfy with something it will change on you, so be alert.
  • Approach each person differently, as if they were unique, because they are.
  • Try using the Platinum rule of “Do unto others they would want to be done unto” versus the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would want to be done unto”. In communication, platinum rules!
  • Recognition styles differ as much as personalities. Pay attention to what they need and don’t give the quiet, introverted person a tic or take parade unless you never want them to that great thing…ever again.
  • Take action to learn, work on, improve upon, or better something every day. Your efforts will be contagious!

Stay Contagious and Lead well!

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