Managing Multiple Leadership Roles
Best practices for how to balance and leverage accelerated learning
Side hustles are more popular than ever. The ability to work remotely combined with ever-ambitious leaders wishing to learn and grow faster, teams are often led by entrepreneurs and managers who are juggling several businesses or projects simultaneously. From one perspective, there exists a risk that these leaders can overstretch themselves to the detriment of their core responsibilities. On the other hand, the opportunity arises to accelerate learnings to the benefit of their teams. We heard from several leaders on how they are coping and embracing their choice to take on multiple endeavors. Here are three tips they shared:
The best side gigs are win-win for both staff and employers: As an HR practitioner, Temi Samson-Grace, the Head of Talent at Big Cabal Media, rightfully insists that a side gig should not interfere with someone remaining fully productive in their core role. In our interview with her, she also highlighted that side gigs can even bring value to one’s primary role, in cases such as developing yourself as a leader and achieving personal goals. In her own case, she also works as a coach outside of her work with Big Cabal Media. In both her conversations with team members and with her personal clients outside of work, her goal is usually the same - to help individuals find clarity. She has found both roles very complementary.
Managing multiple businesses or teams simultaneously can help provide perspective and parallel learning: Matthew Henshall currently manages two businesses concurrently as Founder and CEO of Lessonspace and Code4Kids. In our interview with him, he shared how this has accelerated his rate of learning. He says this has allowed him to spot similarities and differences in each business. It gives him an opportunity to think more about why certain business and team strategies might work with one and not the other, and he has even found himself connecting peers across both companies to exchange specific learnings he feels would be relevant to each other. This dual-business set up has also forced him to shift his leadership style from doing everything for his teams to more of an enabling role. He used to tell people his role was to “make sure you know where you’re going, have what you need to get there, and I’ll help you get there” to instead only promising the first two.
Be disciplined in managing your time commitments and focus on where you can add the most value: When balancing multiple roles, you can’t afford to not be efficient with your time. In our interview with Joseph Rutakangwa, the Founder and CEO of Rwazi, he described how he allocated only a few hours every Saturday to advising a small number of other startup founders. In allocating his time and resources to this extra pursuit, he says he is forgoing other personal leisure time and activities. As such, he has been highly selective in whom he takes on as mentees and invests in. If a startup sector or business model does not present an obvious way for him to add value through his existing experience and network, or if the founder does not demonstrate relentless focus, he won’t continue to work with them. This advisory role has also helped him come across strategies that he can bring to his own team and business.