252: Leading vs Managing

11 Minutes Read

When you act more like a manager than a leader, you end up with disengaged, underperforming people on your team.

In this episode Erin and Steve explore the crucial differences between managing—which isn’t always a bad thing—and leading. 

You will discover:

  1. Why purpose is the secret ingredient to great leadership, and how to help someone bring it to even the smallest task on their plate

  2. The simplest distinctions between leading and managing, so you can do more of the former and be more effective at the latter

  3. The quickest way for a manager to lose the respect of their team, and how to avoid it

  4. Which coaching tools will help your people do their best work

 Click here to learn more about the Superabound Coach Certification program and find out how you can bring the empowering toolkit of coaching into your business.

If you haven't already joined the Superabound Collective, what are you waiting for? It is a community of soulful business owners where you can get support with the challenges of leadership. And it's free for a limited time.

Learn more and join the Collective here.


Episode Transcript

Steve Haase  0:01  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches, Erin Aquin and Steve Haase where business owners like you learn tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You're listening to episode number 252: Leading versus Managing. Hello, and welcome to the podcast. Today we're going to talk about something that is crucial if you work with people. The fact is, you might think that you are a great leader. And chances are, in some areas, you are a great leader. But most of us have learned so much from the world around us about how to lead people that is actually more on the managing side. And in the end results in less than optimal outcomes. In other words, you want people to do a certain thing, they end up doing other things where you're constantly looking over their shoulder or redoing work, chances are you were doing more managing than leading. So today's episode is going to help you make that shift and understand what the core differences between these two ways of working with people. I'm joined by Superabound co founder, Erin Aquin. Hello, Erin.

Erin Aquin  1:18  
Hi, I'm so glad we're talking about this. So I'll just share kind of this is going to be a little simplistic, but I think that this will help a lot of people understand. Because we're not using the term manage in like a disparaging way I was in fact a tour manager. Once upon a time, I worked for bands, and my job was to tell people what to do. It was to tell them what time to be on the bus, and what time to load in and what time they were going on stage and where the hotel was, and like provide details. And one tour. The compliment that I received from one of the band members was that I did such a great job, he didn't have to think at all. There are some jobs where you have to manage, you have to just tell people what to do. That's the job. You know, for me, as a tour manager, I gave people instructions. And I was there essentially to think for them. They were there to be the amazing musicians on stage, my job was to take as much off of their brain so that they could show up and do their job. That is not what most people who are called managers or executives are expected to do. And yet, the distinction we're going to make today is managers tell people what to do, so that people don't have to think for themselves. And leaders inspire the best work from their people. They point in the direction they want people to go in and they help unblock and unlock the brilliant people that are in your organization to do excellent work.

Steve Haase  2:58  
And this is all tied into something that we teased last week to help you become an even more empowered leader. Through some of the tools of coaching, we are taking our years of helping leaders and executives create better organizations and turning it into a program that you can use to bring that same skill set of empowering people into your organization, you can learn more about it at be superabound.com/certification. And the reason that this certification connects to the topic that we're talking about is leaders bring out the best in their people, leaders challenge people to think for themselves in new ways in creative ways. You know that you're succeeding as a leader, if you find yourself with less on your shoulders, because you're empowering your people to take on more responsibility and to have more authority, you know, closer to the problem closer to where the work is actually happening. That's very similar to the work that a coach does. Where when you're working with somebody you want to find, what is it that is in them? A coach does not have all the answers to begin with. But a coach has the ability to find the direction towards the answers in the person that they're working with. So you as a leader, shifting out of the mindset of I have to tell my people all the things that they need to do into how can I bring out the best from all of my people, all these people that I am working with? How can how can we all be on this same journey together? That is going to help you move from the role of manager who has to control everything and tell everyone what their next thing is into one of a leader who actually helps people become even more of themselves towards us. shared outcome that you all believe in.

Erin Aquin  5:02  
And we're really using the term leader and coach almost interchangeably in this particular episode, because what we have done with a lot of our clients is bring a culture of coaching into their business. So one of the skills that a leader has that a manager might not is being able to very quickly identify when someone on their team or the whole team is in what we call a static state. This is when they are having. There's high emotions, there's drama, there's unhelpful beliefs that people are bringing in. And that make maybe an already complicated situation, much worse. A good leader will see when that is happening, and will not like close their eyes and hope it goes away. And they will address it in a skillful way. Whereas a manager might just like, try and crack the whip further and say, I think the solution is everybody working harder and stop whining, like, they won't necessarily address the human element, they'll start to treat their people we've seen this so many times. But they will start treating people more like parts in machinery rather than human beings who have complicated lives and emotions and pasts and confidence issues. A good leader will be able to hold space for the whole human, as well as the vision, you know, you're a leader who who knows how to coach, you're not just there to like, wander about a problem, you are still there to create results for your company. But you'll be able to do it without excluding any part of the people around you, and hopefully addressing and resolving issues before they become fires that need to be put out. Because guess who gets to do that? You.

Steve Haase  7:04  
So just to underline that point a little bit more. As a leader, you are caring for the whole human being. That's what has somebody feeling seen, feeling valued. And that is what's going to increase engagement, right. In the end, it does come down to what is good for your company. What we're talking about here is that being good to the people at your company will be good for your company as well. And one of the big problems with management is that it often doesn't take into account those inner dimensions of the people that you're working with, like Erin was talking about, static, doesn't even register on the management scale. Most of the time, you don't say, what's bugging you about this? How are you feeling about this project? What do you think is in our way, and asking not just for the technical requirements that might be problematic, but asking about each person's thoughts and dare I say feelings? We've done lots of episodes on this. Feelings are squishy, we can't see them. And yet feelings drive what people do. So a leader will actually pay attention to how people are feeling, they will care about those squishy things called emotions, because they know that that's actually what matters. In the end. We seek recognition, we do the things that we do, in order to feel valued in order to feel successful. And those are the intangible things, nobody works an 80 hour week just to get their overtime pay. If there's not something else that's driving it, maybe it's their commitment to their family, maybe it's their desire to be successful. All of those things are what matter. And as a leader, those are the things that you're tapping into. Those are the chords that you're able to pluck in order to connect with your team and with your company in ways that managers just cannot because it's not in that it's not in their reality. It's not what you're looking at, if you are just in a management mindset.

Erin Aquin  9:21  
I think the distinction for me is that managers are trying to get the most from people whereas leaders are trying to get the best from people. And the best for people includes not working 80 hours a week. Most people It includes helping the people in your team be really matched to the with the things that they're good at with the jobs that they have to do. So. So just to be really clear, you know, coaching is not therapy. You're not going to be like having like a line of people crying in your office probably You're not gonna have a line of people crying in your office necessarily, but it just means that as a leader, you're there to support the whole human not only the functional part that you can tap for their efficiency,

Steve Haase  10:17  
that is a core component of what makes a positive culture. When you look at surveys about why people leave a job, the number one reason is because they were in a, what they perceive to be a toxic culture. And a toxic culture is one that is not paying attention to how people are feeling, how they're doing, what might be off about the situation. A positive culture is one that takes those things into account. Another crucial element of creating that positive culture and being an inspirational leader rather than a soul crushing manager, you know, those are kind of the the adjectives that often go with those words, is tying things back to your vision and values. Whenever I'm working with a client, I always make sure that the conversation ties back to that 30,000 foot level, we can get all the way down to the details of what are you doing today? What's happening tomorrow, tell me about so and so. But unless we're able to tie that back to why they're doing the work in the first place. It's just busywork. It's just minutiae, your ability to bring somebody back to why they're doing it, and how it matters to the culture that you're creating, and to the impact that you want to have in the world are what make the difference between being a manager who says, do this, because I said, and a leader who says, here's where we're going, what do you think is going to be most impactful? Here are my ideas, here's how we're planning on doing it.

Erin Aquin  11:57  
Yeah, and you touched on this, but managers usually think they already know exactly how everything is supposed to be done, they usually have a manual that tells them what to do and how to do it. And they're going to just relate that information. They're just like a walking talking textbook. You know, when I was a tour manager, I literally had a book, that was the tour guide. And it would tell us where we all needed to be at what time and my job was to be the mouthpiece of that little book. A leader is a more collaborative position. Because your job as a leader is not to know how everything should go, it's really to be the vision holder, it's to be the person who's carrying the torch at the front of the line saying, here's where we're walking to, this is our next lantern, there are six different paths that we could potentially take. And you my team, need to tell me where you think we should go and how you think we should get there. And which of these paths really matches our vision and our values. It's sharing responsibility, in some ways, even and knowing at the same time that you as the leader are ultimately responsible for that next lantern being lit.

Steve Haase  13:14  
It's such an important point, because a leader needs to be willing to take responsibility for the decision. One of the ways in which managers can lose the respect of their team is by not ultimately taking responsibility for decisions, either not making them quickly enough, not making them strongly enough, not standing behind them and kind of softly rolling them back without letting anybody know basically being wishy washy. To be a leader means to say, Okay, we've heard all of the possible outcomes, we've been intelligent in our process. And this is where we're going to go. And then that becomes the lantern that you set out for your team to light. People need purpose. And when you are a leader, your job is to provide that purpose. A paycheck is not purpose enough, right, they'll have their own reason for wanting to earn that purpose. People want to matter when they're doing their work. And so when you make a strong decision, and you say, here are the pitfalls, here are the reasons this could be tough. I want to have all the input from you all. And here's where we're going. And this is why it connects to the vision for the company that provides an opening for people to have purpose in their work.

Erin Aquin  14:34  
And I'm gonna get on my soapbox here just for a second, please forgive me everybody, but this is really important. Leadership is not a natural skill. I don't care what anybody says. You know, there are people who are good listeners. There are people that are very inspiring and motivating, but leading a team into the unknown is something that and being a good coach. while you do it is something that is a skill just like any other thing. You may have natural inclinations to some of it. But this is a skill we need to all train. Nothing makes me more upset when I hear that someone has, quote, unquote, trained to be a coach, and what they mean by that as they've read a couple of books, or that their company provided them a half day seminar on how to coach, you would never get on a plane with a pilot who said, Don't worry, everybody, I've read a couple books, and I took a half day training on how to fly a 747, I got this, you would never do that. And yet we are promoting people are putting them into roles that were the responsible not only for the future of the company, sometimes millions and millions of dollars, but also for their teams, the people who are relying on this thing to work so that they can take care of their families. And we're putting them in to fly this plane with no training. So I'm very, very passionate about helping more leaders become highly trained coaches. That is why our Superabound coach certification exists. I think that if you lead a team, if you want to lead a team, if even if you are already a coach, and you think you've got training was pretty good. If you want to work with leaders and executives, this is the mindset and strategy set that will help you help those companies thrive.

Steve Haase  16:47  
We're very excited about this program, it is going to be very high touch, very small group space is limited so that you can have a truly deep coaching experience. This is not something where you're just going to learn a bunch of things and we're going to say you're fine. It's going to be hands on in your own life and for the life of the clients that you're going to be working with. Maybe there'll be team members, maybe there'll be people outside of your company, but it is going to be transformative for you. And for the people that you coach, we'd love for you to come join us learn more at be superabound.com/certification.

Erin Aquin  17:23  
And maybe one more sort of just just practical thing about managing versus leading or coaching. Managing is going to be you repeating yourself a million times leading is teaching the people around you to solve problems to handle the roller coaster ride of their lives and Company. Like when you are a leader you can have an impact on the people around you. That does permeate every corner of their life without you ever talking about it.

Steve Haase  17:58  
Yes, the impact that you can have goes far beyond the meetings, the one on ones you are going to be giving people tools for solving their own problems for determining their own future. That's what is so powerful about coaching and about great leadership. There are so many intersection points between those two. Thank you for listening in this exploration. We're looking forward to going deeper in this topic over the weeks and months to come. Take care

Transcribed by https://otter.ai