One of my mantras is that you manage projects and lead people. I guess if we’re talking about managing versus coaching it would read you manage the game but coach players. Are you doing both in your workplace?
When to Manage the Game
Years ago as VP of Operations at a home remodeling company I took over installation after the VP of installation suffered a severe stroke. Every Thursday afternoon a large shipment of custom manufactured windows arrived at the warehouse. My first exposure to this delivery was chaotic. All I could do was sit back and watch the mayhem. It was out of control. It was unmanaged. Windows were misplaced, lost, and sent on the wrong job. Counts were incomplete, and the bill of lading was signed without being checked. The process needed a system, and it needed managed. The next week I put a system in, handed out assignments, and directed the action. Eventually it became a smooth process that I could walk away from, but in the beginning, it needed managed. It needed a game plan.
When to Coach Your Players
At the same time, I found the department short on potential managers. We were one manager short and no one was ready to take on more responsibility. It was time to be a coach. I looked for teammates that were already acting as leaders. Those who jumped in where help was needed, shared positive attitudes, and handed out recognition to others. I found two and took them under my wing. I began a management development program, which was more about leadership than it was about management. Eventually, both took over divisions as managers and today one is the VP of Installation over several divisions.
Managers and Coaches
Good leaders wear both hats. Just as the window delivery called for management there are times that a team needs direction. There are times people need direction, and managers need to be prepared to use their authority to affect a positive outcome.
Leaders must also know when to coach, when to mentor, train, facilitate and when to delegate and let teammates run with it.
The best leaders manage and coach. It’s not exclusive; coaching and managing are inclusive. Do you coach, manage, or do both?