It’s a blessing and a curse to be a natural leader, one who provides leadership and direction, who motivates other people and enrolls them into a greater life day in and day out.

Leadership can be natural and effortless, which is the complete opposite of managing.

Chances are, if you are in a “management” role, you have specific job duties and results to achieve. You find yourself feeling like a professional babysitter. And often, frustration and resentment creep in. You don’t ever want to find yourself “managing” employees if you are an entrepreneur or working for an entrepreneur. People need to manage themselves.  You can hold them accountable to the results they are supposed to achieve, but team needs to come “batteries included.”

It is one thing to train a team member, help them solve a problem, or give them advice. It’s totally separate and not advisable to convince them they want to be on your team emotionally. Trying to motivate, encourage learning and find ways to grow while trying to make a grumpy team member happy, or to make a negative team member see the positive, will simply waste your time and emotional energy. (Trust us, we ARE team members (“staff”), so we know how we operate!)

Running around managing and motivating your team allows you to become their emotional crutch. They will lean on you for inspiration, and when you can’t provide it, they will quit and leave. And when they leave, they leave you with a team of others, whom you may have neglected, who now see they get more attention and allowances with negative and non-productive energy. You reinforce a bad example.

If you are providing a positive work environment with opportunity for team to learn and grow, you won’t have to motivate and convince them to work with you, at least not if they come “batteries included.” The work environment and the opportunity in front of them is self-fulfilling and self-motivating. It’s your job to provide leadership and guide them in the direction they should be working toward – a common goal.  It is NOT your job to jump-start your team’s battery every day. Leaders empower their team to work toward a goal. Managers have to micromanage their staff’s daily tasks because they don’t know, or don’t believe, where the business is going.

If you are unsure whether you are managing or leading, ask yourself these key questions:

  1. Do people come to you to complain so you can provide the pep talk, pat them on the back and send them back to work?
  2. Do people come to you with a problem and a proposed solution?

Pep talks only work for so long.  Presenting a problem with a proposed solution rids you, and your team, of its negative impact and the reoccurrence of hand holding. That creates, nourishes and grows leaders.

Remember: When evaluating an employee, you only have so much time, money and emotional capital to spend on team members.  Use it wisely; use it for “great,” not “good enough.”  As long as you are employing (tolerating) that “good enough” employee, you might be missing the chance to hire a great one.

To learn how to transform your employees into a dream team in 90 days or less, register for our webinar here 

Molly Hall

employee playbook


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