Leadership is the hot topic in business journals, boardrooms and in the minds of most CEO’s. In my experience, most everyone calls people who are in positions of power and authority “leaders”, when in fact, they are mostly managers. I love the old saying, “managers do things right, leaders do the right things.” I can update this by saying, “managers force things to get done, leaders inspire others to want to get the right things done better.” No matter the title, people who are responsible for others typically fall into two categories: managers or leaders.
Look back in your work experience at those bosses you have worked with, and reflect on whether you tolerated, avoided, loathed, disliked, or disrespected them because of how you and others were treated by them, or, did you like them, felt trusted and listened to, and wanted to go the extra mile because of the environment they created?
Managers push people, tell, want things their way, use intimidation and threats, while leaders openly communicate, influence others and keep focusing on the bigger purpose and values of the organization. Managers are more interested on results rather than connecting with the people who are responsible for getting the results accomplished. Too many managers are focused on looking good to enhance their own career and standing, where leaders look to make their teammates shine and works to help them grow their careers.
When people ask me what’s the core difference between managers and leaders, I say managers are focused on externals, and leaders love people. Managers care about things and results, leaders care about people who get things done. Managers are more interested in wanting things their way, leaders enjoy the human interactions and want to see others succeed.
Take a look at these characteristics and drivers I’ve listed below. Assess yourself first, then center on current and past managers / leaders.
What areas you can further develop? Who can you ask to give you feedback and do some evaluations so you can see yourself more clearly? As you reflect also see which ones you’d like to expand into and improve. Get some feedback from co-workers and supervisors and use that to develop your own personal improvement plan. Get coaching and have peers help keep you awake and accountable to meet your improvement goals.
Leaders who love people get more productivity and higher quality work than managers. Leaders make more money for their organizations and people than managers. Leaders create more engagement, enjoyment and harmony than do managers. Leaders make work fulfilling and meaningful and lift people up. I bet the bosses you love were more leaders than managers.
What kind of person are you . . . one who enjoys working with others, one who cares what others are going through, and one who relates? If you want to be a leader, look deep and long into your own “people-skills.” The good news is that people-skills can all be learned and developed throughout one’s lifetime. The world needs more leaders, what about you?
Remember – Managers care about getting things done right. Leaders love their people and care about doing the right things well. Which are you?