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What Leadership is Not

December 14, 2012

photoI am still surprised by the number of people who believe that Leadership and Management are essentially the same. They most certainly are not.

This is pretty general but I believe that if you are doing something for your business, new computers, new software, new copiers, etc. that is managing. It’s about stuff, processes and things.

I also believe that if you are doing it for your people, better training, better conditions, better coaching or developing better relationships, that’s leading. It’s about people. Leading is always about people.

It’s been said a million times in books, blogs and articles around the word that you manage things and you lead people. It’s been said millions of times because it is true.

I’ve never met a person who wanted to be managed. People do not commit to a manager, they comply with a manager. People make commitments to a leader and committed people do more things, they do them faster, they do them better and they do them more consistently.

Great organizations know they need great managers AND great leaders. Sometimes you’ll find a person who can excel at both but that seems to be getting rarer all the time.

But here’s the point, if you’re managing your people then don’t expect them to excel at anything. If you apply sound management principles to people they will perform up to their job description and not much more. They will do what needs to be done, they will comply. But know this, managing must be a constant for the compliance to remain. Once the manager is no longer present much of the compliance is no longer present either.

If you choose to really lead your people then they won’t be limited by a job description. People who are led are the ones who accomplish the impossible, people who are led are the ones that truly make an organization great. People who feel led do not need the physical presence of the leader to remain committed. Their unparalleled work ethic continues even in the absence of their leader.

So manage your business as you must; measure your progress, set your requirements and develop your plan. Managing your business will keep it stable and steady.

But if you’re looking for growth, innovation, market share and increased profitability then don’t manage your people, lead them. That’s the not so secret secret to success in today’s business environment.

From → Leadership

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