Why managing a team is a waste of time

Listen on:

At some point in your career you were probably a great individual contributor that did so well you were given more responsibility and became a manager. But managing is such a waste of time. You have to stop managing and start leading.

What really is the difference between a manager and a leader?

A manager is someone that makes sure the team is moving forward. They remove obstacles while optimizing existing tools and processes. They teach their teams how to deliver results.

Being a manager looks like:

  • A very full schedule with little time to stop and think
  • A focus on employee performance and other people’s projects
  • Straddling your time to focus on delivering your projects while supporting your team 

Leaders are the ones that go first when they don’t know the “how.” Leaders have a vision and enable their team to figure out how to do it. They create a safe place that allows for failure to learn and grow.

Being a leader looks like:

  • Obsessing over the data to influence what the next step should be
  • Focusing on enabling employees to plow through the ambiguity
  • Driving results that are not perfect, but move the project forward in leaps and bounds

Humans are so greedy at wanting to know the “how” before they are willing to go all in on that big idea.

Take a step back and think about how you spent the last work week and answer the following questions:   

  1. What % of my time was spent updating reports and status updates?
  2. What did I learn last week? And what data do I have to back it up?
  3. What risk did I take and what did I learn from it?
  4. How did I inspire someone to move the needle?
  5. If I was leading the org, how would I be spending my time? What would I stop doing? What would I start doing?

Be the leader. Don’t wait until you are the senior team member. Start leading today. 

You got this.

Feeling overwhelmed with your never-ending to-do list? Check out my free online course on how to get more done.

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Hey, I’m Lindsay Lyman

I spent the last ~12 years growing my career at Amazon. I’ve built teams, launched new products, and created my own jobs. As a certified coach, I teach people how to manage the noise in their head to feel motivated and valued at work again.

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