Are you a manager or a leader?
Both are vital for an organization. But we need to be careful not to confuse them. Just because you have an executive title, doesn’t mean you are now one. Leaders are scarce and thus more valuable. They know where they’d like to go, but understand they can’t get there with their team of stakeholders, supporting them with the tools to move forward. Managers focus on getting their employees to do what they did yesterday, more efficiently and effectively.
Leader? Or Manager?
These 4 questions should help you better understand if you’ve made the shift from managing people to leading them.
Are you leading people or managing work?
Management is about controlling a group to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute to the success of an organization. Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela inspired people with their vision that became everyone’s dream of converting challenges into opportunities.
Do you want responsibility or authority?
The key to whether an executive is perceived as a leader or a manager rests with how they exercise authority. Managers exercise their power and enforce rules to hold the team accountable. Leaders hold themselves accountable for their actions as well as those of their team.
Do you count or create value?
Managers count value, some even reduce value by disabling those who add value. If an executive checks up on a team every two hours, disrupting their workflow and progress, the manager is subtracting value.
By contrast, leaders focus on creating value: “Why don’t you handle Task A, while I work on Task B.” A leader creates value over and above that which the team creates.
Are you relying on circles of influence or circles of power?
Leaders have followers, creating circles of influence. Managers have subordinates, creating circles of power.
Ask yourself: How many people outside of your reporting hierarchy come to you for advice? The more that do, the more likely is that you are perceived to be a leader.
No matter where you are in the leadership transformation, being an inspiring leader means constant evolving and changing.
“One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.” – Robert E. Quinn