All of this got me thinking about the key differences between simply just being a manager versus performing as a leader.
A manager focuses on what's in it for them.
A leader focuses on what's best for others and the collective team.
A manager tends to look at their people as a simply a number or worse, headcount.
A leader recognizes the people who work for them are individuals and their need to be treated as such.
A manager says, "Because I said so, that's why!"
A leader says, "This is why and how I know you are the right person to help make it happen."
A manager builds (either intentionally or unintentionally) frustration and resentment.
A leader builds trust and loyalty.
A manager plays head games, creates conflict and plays people off one another.
A leader never manipulates their people because people perform for those who inspire them to do so.
A manager requires their employees to do more with less.
A leader helps their employees discover new strategies and approaches despite limited resources.
A manager demands.
A leader simply asks.
A manager rules with an iron fist and often a not so subtle threat of consequences.
A leader motivates, inspires and sets the example.
A manager often sees the worst in people.
A leader sees the best in people as they are today and what they can become tomorrow.
A manager doesn't care about feelings.
A leader realizes that without an employee's heart and mind no one gets very far.
A manager doesn't view their job as developing their people.
A leader believes their only job is developing their people.
A manager will suck the life and soul from their workers like a vampire in need of a transfusion.
A leader will keep their people coming back for more if for no other reason because they want to.
A manager fails to recognize that their people are the most important ingredient to their success.
A leader constantly reminds their team that without them they are nothing.
A manager worries about star performers outshining them.
A leader hopes he develops everyone on the team to outshine them.
A manager manages.
A leader leads.
Do I believe all managers are bad? Absolutely not. I point out the difference in attitude and approach to one's job and working with the people at that job for a very specific reason: we are all leaders, regardless of what our role is within our company. True we may not always be in a role to influence broad company culture or strategic direction but we can and will effect the kind of change we want within the organization through the positive actions we take with the people we work with. That's being a leader in my not so humble opinion.
And for those of you who are in a role to directly control, manage and manipulate what people do on a day to day basis I submit you have a choice. You can be like all the other managers out there in the world that don't get it. You can bury your head in the sand, rattle your saber and pretend that you are God's gift to your company and all the while continue lose your people's respect or you can step up and lead like a leader. You can create an environment that people excel in. You can create a culture of trust, commitment and loyalty. And you can get the very best from the people you work with just by showing them through your words, deeds, and actions that your success is directly tied to their success. It's a never ending process but one that yields so much better results.
That's real leadership my friend.
So when all is said and done are you going to be a manager or are you a leader? Like I said the choice is yours. Just make the right one will ya?