A Juggling Act- To Lead and Manage

May 15th, 2014   •   no comments   

Business requires a lot of juggling- juggling thoughts, time, people, resources, ideas, dollars… All this juggling can make anyMay_13_2014jugglinglotsone crazy.  In business, the owner, the executive, the solopreneur are generally the individuals with the most balls in the air. In fact, the very reason certain people are in charge is because they don’t just survive, they thrive on chaos and complexity.

How do they do it?  How do they not only maintain control but move forward?

People get so wrapped up in the blur and excitement of being in overdrive that they can never gain clarity. Decision making becomes a nightmare and yet they continue to add to the pandemonium, putting more balls in the air, instead of truly focusing on the business at hand.

Leaders need to develop an understanding of what it means to to lead and to manage at the same time.  Leadership generates strategy and planning which can be messy and mind-blowing. Management involves tactics, attention to detail and task-lists which are exacting and sometimes mind-numbing. They involve two separate mindsets, two different sets of skills.  Those in the position of having responsibilities for both are juggling two different roles, needing to be successful at both.  Keeping in mind, people are effective and things (machines, dollars, etc)  are efficient.

In a recent interview, I asked a middle manager how well they believed their international, Fortune 1000 company shared their vision and plan.  His response, “I’m not sure what the vision is any more. One minute it’s customer service, the next it’s profitability, the next it’s whatever flavor of the day, not the week, crops up.”

I next asked him what his company’s tagline was.  “I couldn’t really tell you that either.  I used to know it, but I don’t talk to marketing much. My vice president is busy maneuvering to be sure we have the resources we need.  He’s a great guy but, honestly, that’s why I never wanted to move up. I can’t be that political, I just want to do a great job,  provide a great service, hit my financial targets and unfortunately, that leaves me little time to help my company grow.”

Quite a sad testimonial, wouldn’t you say? It is simpler to focus on one aspect or the other. But it is almost impossible to create a situation where that luxury exists. There are business owners who seek to just lead, who delegate all managing to others. A few may succeed at this. But most lose touch with the business, its culture, and ultimately wake up to a business they don’t recognize or to a dire situation.

May13_2014_two ballsTo be truly successful, we will need to juggle by learning to lead and manage at the same time.

Please note this picture. It’s  is so much clearer.  Only two balls to juggle.

When the executive, owner, boss  focuses on leadership and guides, coaches, facilitates and mentors; as well as manages and controls tangible things  life will become much more positive and business would be much more successful.

As 720thinkers, we are continually striving to gain fresh ideas and insights to provide the best plans, strategies, tools and tactics possible to help people lead and manage at extraordinary levels.  We support:

  • cultures becoming  greenhouses for creativity and innovation
  • decision making to have high impact and relevant
  • communication to be open and collaborative
  • teams to be engaged and motivated

We would like to hear from you regarding your thoughts on how to master this juggling act – to lead and to manage.



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