Management and leadership, not always one in the same, but both need each other

by Jane Turlo

March 10, 2019

Leadership

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According to Webster’s, the definition of Management is: “the conducting or supervising of something (such as a business)” and “judicious use of means to accomplish an end” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary APP)

In addition, Webster’s defines Leadership as: “the office or position of a leader; capacity to lead; and the act or an instance of leading- leadership molds individuals into a team”. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary APP). 

By definition, management and leadership seem different, but in practice they certainly are intertwined. However, with certain individuals the two shall never meet. 

We have all had bosses that were managers, others that were leaders and sometimes if we were fortunate, both.  What makes one person a manager and the other a leader?  That is a complex question that I’m sure has a variety of answers.  Here are my thoughts….

First, I want to share that at 16 years old, I started working as a tray aid delivering food trays to patients at the local hospital.  I started noticing the attributes of my bosses.  I noticed how they made decisions, how they conducted themselves and how they interfaced with employees.  I took note of what I liked and left the rest.  This intel I collected over the years, and still am collecting, has paved a clear direction for me in my work life and in my leadership, but it wasn’t instantaneous. 

After being a tray aid for a couple years, I was promoted to cafeteria supervisor at age 18.  I found myself managing others that were my parents age.  I was unskilled and just wanted to get things done and done quickly.  All those observations I had made and behaviors I noted from my previous bosses, was gained knowledge but putting it into practice was more difficult.  I managed others based on my title and authority, instead of tapping into my learned and innate attributes. I was rough around the edges in my approach.  Welcome to my first lesson in management and leadership………

Whether you are managing/leading 5, 50, or 5,000 people, it has its challenges.  Keeping a business functioning, ensuring that employees are engaged and productive, and being responsible for operations running smoothly are all a part of management/leadership.  The bottom line is the bottom line; increase revenue and decrease cost.  When you are hypervigilant at driving profit and effective functionality, while extinguishing fires that inevitably start up routinely, how does this allow for time to develop leadership skills?  With everyday happenings, management can feel like running on a hamster wheel with the main goal being, to get stuff done. 

I believe the bridge between management and leadership has to do with using attributes, both innate and learned, AND really pushing one’s boundaries and comfort zone.  Managers can be driven, take care of their teams, be collaborative, and be committed. So, things get done.   

Leaders don’t stop at just getting things done, they make an impact and impression.  Leaders are courageous risk takers that are fearlessly driven to challenge others/superiors, and organizations for the good of the company.  They are not afraid to make unpopular decisions and they do it with strength not bullying.  Leaders are decisive, take ownership of the good and bad while fostering growth in others.  They are not threatened by their teams’ talents; they enjoy having their team make them look good.  Leaders instill confidence in their team and as they pave the way to change through example, the team is willing to follow a proven trusted leader. 

Good management and good leadership complement each other; great leaders need great managers and vice versa.  Not everyone wants to be or is capable of being a leader, and that is ok-nobody is good at everything.  However, it is important to know what kind of boss you want to be or what kind of boss you want to work for.  If you are clear on these, it helps move you in the right direction and into the right culture/organization. 

This is a vast topic and I would love to hear from all of you about what you think.  Again, we can learn from each other. 

Disclaimer: the advice in this blog is meant to provide guidance and be thought provoking.  It is the writer’s opinion only. 

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Employee Engagement and Disengagement

by Jane Turlo

February 15, 2019

Leadership

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In my experience, employee engagement is key to a high functioning operation.  When employees are interested in their work and work environment, they want to do their best.  Happy and involved employees will bring solutions to the table, discuss their ideas with management and treat customers with care and respect.  When employees are respected, listened to, and acknowledged in an organization, the brand flourishes along with customer service, reputation and internal relationships.

How engaged or disengaged employees are can be related to leadership and/or culture.   Of course, there are just miserable employees who will never be happy or involved, but in my experience, I have seen leadership and culture make or break engagement. 

Engaged employees make suggestions to improve things, point out areas of opportunity and may have goals to grow beyond their current role.  As leaders it is our obligation to recognize these employees and work with them to help set them on a course for advancement.  Have discussions with employees and ask about career aspirations.  If they have demonstrated leadership qualities, tell them and assign them to projects to see how they perform.  Observe how they handle assignments and how they interface with colleagues.  This sets the tone and promotes a culture of growth and advancement.    

On the flip side, when dealing with disengaged staff, it is very important to schedule a time to speak candidly to employees about why they are disengaged.  Remember, employees need to feel comfortable and safe to speak freely, so hopefully leadership has fostered that type of environment.  If not, there are other items to address. Let’s assume the workplace promotes an open, truth speaking culture.

Disengaged employees can exhibit a variety of behaviors; apathy, negativity and unwillingness to participate are some of the behaviors I have encountered.  Let employees know you have noticed disengaged behavior from them and that you are worried about them and how this could affect the team.  Ask them if they agree or if this comes as a surprise and hopefully this will help open a dialogue. 

Disengagement, like engagement can come in many packages; one person, a whole team, a specific business unit or the whole organization.  Regardless how it presents, dealing with disengagement is about communication, discovery and strategically addressing the situation quickly.  Genuinely caring about staff and how they feel and act, can help disengagement be a thing of the past.

What do you think?  Are you a leader struggling with disengaged employees, or do you have an uplifting story to share about engagement?  Are you an engaged or disengaged employee?  Would love to hear your thoughts. 

Disclaimer: the advice in this blog is meant to provide guidance and be thought provoking. It is the writer’s opinion only.

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Leadership and all that goes along with it

by Jane Turlo

January 11, 2019

Leadership

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It is tough starting out as a new leader and unless you have a mentor, it is difficult to know where to turn when it comes to situations that arise.  How do you gain perspective?  Is it the right perspective? Who do you seek out to help you?  What happens if the situation is urgent and nobody is around?

I have been in leadership for over 15 years; in those 15 years it feels like I have encountered almost every employee situation I could encounter, but I doubt it.  In most complex or worrisome employee scenarios, I like to counsel with a trusted colleague or HR partner.  When I think back to when I was a new leader, I remember how I struggled with even the simplest scenarios or tried to come across as too hard assed.   I used my authority to lead and not my leadership skills. 

I wanted to start this blog in hopes of helping others in leadership, guiding them in the right direction through my experience and making conversation interactive.  Seasoned leaders and new leaders can learn from each other, so why not start with this blog! 

There are a few basics when dealing with employee circumstances that will help you and are good guidelines to follow:

  • When meeting with an employee have another leader in the room with you.  This person can document the conversation you have with the employee, but the intent is for you to have a witness.  You can explain to the employee that you are having this person join to take notes of the conversation, so you can focus on the dialogue with the employee.   Not every conversation will warrant a witness; if it is a quick touch base probably not, but if it is a sensitive topic, addressing a trend, or anything that could develop into more, then a witness is good to have in the room.  Partnering with Human Resources (HR) is your best bet. 
  • Make sure there is thorough documentation with dates, times, who was present in the room, conversation high points, follow up items and end result.  This is critical especially if the situation is ongoing or escalates later.  Notes can be kept in a secured desk file, just as an unofficial document or of course in the employee file if official. 
  • Once conversation is complete, make sure any action items that need follow up are addressed in a timely manner.  It is important to follow up, follow through and not leave anything hanging out there or unresolved.  That is your responsibility as a leader. 

That’s it for today.  I appreciate any feedback and engagement; lets learn from each other. 

Disclaimer: the advice in this blog is meant to provide guidance and be thought provoking.  It is the writer’s opinion only. 

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