Can you move between manager and leader?

Author: Kirsty Mackenzie, iMultiply CEO

Our Founder Kirsty Mackenzie has been pondering recently about the difference between managers and leaders and if you can move between the two:

It’s almost a cliché to say that people leave managers, not companies. However, this happens regularly. Top talent will resign, and the exit interview confirm that their manager was the root cause of their departure.

If management is about ensuring processes are followed, and leadership is the ‘meta skills’ of engendering motivation, supporting, and inspiring, how difficult it is to move between one and the other? It appears many managers and leaders could do with polishing up their ability in this area.

For a business to be successful, you need a mix of management and leadership. Unfortunately, finding managers with just the right amount of leadership skills (or vice-versa) is very difficult. As a result, you often find that people have a ‘go-to’ default position.

However, with the right training/management education and self-reflection, it is possible to improve skill levels to generate a flexible approach. When orders need to be given, you don’t have a team meeting and encourage deliberation just after the ship hits the iceberg. And there are times when people learn best when given the tools and encouragement to discover and the space to make mistakes.

I’ve found that effective leadership behavior involves mentoring and coaching. Giving direction and advice to new starts and then asking more open questions as they become experienced supports personal growth, not only of the employee but of their manager. Managers should have some coaching skills (possibly the subject of a later blog!).

Both leadership and management require overlapping skill sets to be effective. So what are you doing to ensure you have a bit of both?

If you’re looking at how to develop, get in touch. We’ve partnered with Gearing for Growth to offer ‘Finance Leaders Reflections’, a group coaching experience that creates a safe space for Finance Leaders to reflect, bring challenges, discuss hot topics, and learn from the experience of others, which is chaired and facilitated with a coaching approach.

Alternatively, you may feel that it’s your manager who needs to develop. If you’re frustrated with your manager and want change, contact iMultiply to discuss what would be the correct next move for you.

I’m interested to hear anyone’s thoughts on this, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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