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Association Management

Be a Leader AND Manager in Your Association: 3 Helpful Scenarios

MemberClicks Avatar MemberClicks July 31, 2017
Table of Contents
3 min read

When it comes to describing your leadership style, it’s easy to demonize “managing” and put the idea of “leading” up on a pedestal. However, when you look at the root of this idea, you may come to our conclusion that being an effective director requires you to wear both your leader and manager hat in order to succeed. To help clarify the difference, we’ve highlighted three scenarios on how to break through the standard stereotypes of leaders versus managers and show how integrate both into your leadership style for your association.

Leadership Scenario #1:

Managers instruct employees vs. Leaders encourage employees

It’s easy to paint the picture that managers just boss around their employees whereas leaders are inspiring their employees to greater heights of productivity. In reality, it might just come down to the fact that you have some systems in place that you know work well and that you want to continue to implement. And there is nothing wrong with that!

Remember though, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be open to new ideas or encouraging your employees to think outside the box. The stigma about managers in this scenario is that they are too controlling with their employees and thus, limiting their potential to make a positive impact in your association. As a compromise, we recommend motivating your employees with more autonomy in conjunction with following the successful methodologies you have in place for your industry.

Leadership Scenario #2:

Managers accept the status quo vs. Leaders challenge the status quo

Depending on your field, establishing what your exact status quo looks like may vary. Across the board, however, it seems that managers are viewed as those who only want to support actions that “just make sense” for the company. On the other hand, leaders are portrayed as those who “look beyond” the standard status quo to find alternative, exciting solutions.

How do you do both? We recommend reviewing the general processes in place for your company and see what you need and what you can live without. We all need some guidelines in place so that anyone can jump in and understand how you run your day-to-day. However, sometimes it’s important to look outside of the box to see if you can uncover how you can be extraordinary as opposed to just another association in your industry. At MemberClicks, we like to call this value “Shockingly Refreshing” as it encourages all of us to see how we can do more than the expected for a customer.

Leadership Scenario #3:

Managers care about short-term vision vs. Leaders care about long-term vision

The vision of your association is important as it establishes both your immediate and long-term goals. When it comes to identifying your vision, managers are typically described as having limited scope when it comes to the big picture, focusing exclusively on their daily routine. Once again, leaders are viewed as coming in with big dreams and a can-do attitude for your association’s long-term master plan.

Realistically, it’s important to be somewhere in the middle of these extremes. You can’t grow your association by only looking around the corner, but you also shouldn’t let yourself get lost in the clouds of “what if.” We recommend doing some research to see what potential opportunities you can work into your association’s vision, both short and long term. Yes, sometimes these opportunities may be risky and off your typical path, but more often than not you might be surprised with what exciting new ideas you can come up with when you’re not so focused on the immediate.

Being a leader in your association

Ultimately, being a leader and a manager is two sides of the same coin. While we aren’t saying that it’s going to be easy, we think that remembering both methods will allow for you to create positive change into your association.

Worried about understanding the needs of your varying members? Take a moment to check out our guide about how to engage different generations in your association!  

Free Member Retention Guide

Ready to retain members and keep them coming back forever and ever? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about member retention. We cover all the basics, like the first steps to member retention and how to map out your member journey. From there, we dive a bit deeper into retention tips.