Management? or Leadership?
This year marks my 23rd year on the job market.
I’ve worked part-time jobs while studying full-time, and I’ve had full-time jobs while taking night classes as a part-time student. Some jobs had been my only source of income, while one summer I once held 3 jobs at the same time! I’ve worked summer jobs, temp jobs, long-term jobs. I’ve been a contractor, sub-contractor, permanent employee, intern. I’ve had cozy, unionized jobs with full medical and dental plans, and I have also worked precarious, miserable jobs with no security.
So what then makes a good manager?
In my experience, it boils down to one word: Leadership. Managers direct, order, and discipline their subordinates, while Leaders, on the other hand, influence, guide, coach, and essentially lead by example.
Does that mean being a leader is good and being a manager is bad?
Not at all! To be successful when in charge of a team you need to be both. You need the flexibility to recognize when a situation (or personality type) calls for a direct, frontal strategy. Conversely, you must be perceptive in discerning when a more indirect, empathetic approach is needed.
If work was due, my initial, curt approach was as follows: Hi Eka, can you finish those reports right away? Thanks! Hope you had a nice weekend. This behavior elicited lukewarm results.
Through observations and trial and error, I concluded that mirroring my colleagues would lead to better outcomes. Hence I wanted to add warmth and get more personal in my approach, being genuinely interested in Eka’s life: Good morning, Eka! How was your weekend? How’s your family doing? By the way, if you could take care of those reports that would be great, thanks!
Doing so has allowed us to become a tight-knit, highly efficient, and successful team. Along the way we have built strong, lasting personal relationships that sometimes even extended outside the workplace.
That’s what makes a good manager.
With teammates located at the four corners of the world, I get to learn even more from my multinational colleagues at AddedEducation. Each one of us brings something unique and extremely valuable to the table. By building strong relationships internally–having a genuine interest in what makes others click–I firmly believe we can mutually enrich each other’s lives in a big way. Collectively, we are better equipped to adapt to the specific situations and aspirations of each family we work with.
After all, we are in the business of making big dreams come true!