At a family reunion this past week, I relished in the opportunity to pick the brains of and share stories with those family members who harbor more experience and wisdom than I do. Each one I spoke with has a tremendous responsibility to his company (Director of, VP of, Head of). And they all said that what takes up the most time and energy day-to-day is managing people.
But the word “manage” has such a negative connotation in business. Just look at the synonyms for manage: direct control, in charge of, preside over, supervise, oversee, command, administer.
Sounds like business slavery to me.
Then my uncle chimed in with, “You don’t manage people, you lead people. It’s the task that has to be managed.” This hit me like a ton of feathers (not as violent as bricks, but crushing nonetheless).
If your direct reports were all blinking cursors, hard drives and complex algorithms, you most certainly could manage them. But your direct reports have thinking brains, motivational drives, and complex mannerisms all of which combine to either make things happen, or not happen.
So What Makes Great Leaders Great?
From Search Inside Yourself:
At the Center For Creative Leadership… researchers looked at a number of factors that could account for a manager’s success. [They] found one, and only one, factor significantly differentiated the top quartile of managers from the bottom quartile … the single factor was high scores on affection—both expressed and wanted … the highest performing managers show more warmth and fondness toward others than do the bottom 25 percent. They get closer to people, and they are significantly more open in sharing thoughts and feelings than their low-performing counterparts. … All things being equal, we will work harder and more effectively for people we like. And we like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel.
If you think this study has no bearing in fast paced, no nonsense settings, think again. In a study which looked to rank the best Naval commanders in the fleet, it was found that the most effective ones are:
More positive and outgoing, more emotionally expressive and dramatic, warmer and more sociable (including smiling more), friendlier and more democratic, more cooperative, more likable and ‘fun to be with,’ more appreciative and trustful, and even gentler than those who were merely average.”
Or in short: Emotional Intelligence makes people better leaders.
The best leaders are able to live these 3 statements at a time of crisis or conflict with an individual:
- I understand you. – Logical. People like to be heard and their point of view at least considered
- I feel for you. – Emotional. People like to feel cared for and empathized with
- I want to help you. – Motivational. People like to feel inspired and pushed
Lead the people who manage the tasks. But to be able to lead your people, you have toknow your company.
Who’s Leading You While You’re Leading Your Efforts?
These 3 statements above are why we created The Ignition Lab. It’s to support the side hustler, the freelancer, the independent contractor and the aspiring entrepreneur, because while managers and employers need to know their staff in order to lead them, the independent hustler needs to know his/her prospective clients in order to lead them.
Do you know yours? Applications are now open for a limited time.