Balancing the role of manager and leader

 

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So, you are a manager with responsibility not only for getting your workload completed but you also have a team to consider. You are probably thinking they are big enough and clever enough to get on with their job without much bother from you.

An interesting concept but it doesn’t quite work that way. When you have been given the title (and salary) of Manager or Team Leader all of a sudden you have responsibility and accountability for those who report to you.

Thinking about your typical day at work, how much time do you spend on task-focused activities? 70%? 80%? For some it can be as much as 90%. So, if you are spending 90% of your time and energy on task focused activities then guess who suffers? Yes, your team. I have no doubt also that you are taking on too much work and not considering who else in your team can help you deliver what needs to be done.

The Action Centred Leadership model, devised by John Adair back in 1973 has become a classic. He spotted three main areas that leaders have to manage – each are as important as the other and this model provides a simple guide to the 3 important aspects when managing and leading;

  • Getting the job done,
  • Keeping the team effective
  • Supporting the individuals in the team

The overlapping circles in the figure below offer a useful way of looking at the need to manage all three aspects and how each cannot stand-alone. The high-performing manager develops effective team spirit; sets good measurable targets and is committed to getting the best out of every individual. A useful metaphor to use is of spinning plates. As the manager you need to keep all three plates spinning. If you can achieve this, you will have a successful act. If you pay too much attention to any one plate then the others might fall.

It is amazing how many managers just focus on the ‘Achieving Task’ plate and then wonder why the other two come crashing down and the task ultimately fails.

Gaining the right balance between these three elements is the secret to good management and leadership. The skilful manager is able to adjust the emphasis given to each element to meet the needs of a given situation or to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Having a dedicated coach to help you understand where you are focusing your time and efforts and helping you to balance your role as a manager can make the difference between success and failure. Contact us at www.CoachingInsuranceProfessionals.co.uk and book a session with us now.

Reference: Effective Leadership: Chris Roebuck, www. John Adair.co.uk

Sue Noble

April 2016