The first thing to keep in mind when managing people is that if you’re doing it then you’re doing it wrong. You’re doing it wrong because you shouldn’t be doing it at all. People will not and can not be managed.
You manage stuff, stuff without feelings, stuff without opinions, stuff that does not have the ability to think for itself, stuff that doesn’t have emotions. People ain’t stuff!
With all due respect to some very smart people who say the difference between managing and leading is just semantics I’m sorry to tell them that they are seriously seriously wrong. It’s not a difference of opinion, it’s not just “how you look at it,” and it’s most certainly not merely semantics. The difference between managing and leading is as great as the difference between night and day.
Some people, very very few but some, have the aptitude to both manage and lead. Many people are placed in positions where both skill sets are required and those people struggle mightily. They struggle because the mindset of a manager is so vastly different than the mindset of a leader.
Managers have subordinates while leaders have followers. Managers seek to control while leaders seek to influence. Managers work with solid data while leaders revel in the abstract.
Managers use their tenacity to get the job done while leaders are using their imaginations to determine what the job should be. Managers are required to focus on today while leaders are looking ahead to tomorrow and beyond.
A manager’s thinking typically focuses on how to get the most out of the workers they have. A leader’s thinking is typically focused on how to help their people grow, both professionally and personally.
A manager “spends time on employees” to ensure requirements are met. A leader “invests time with people” to ensure that their people have the opportunity to excel.
I throughly dislike the term “human capital” that is so often used by Human Resource professionals. There is nothing actually wrong with the words, it is the mindset that goes with them. The mindset is one of managing people and managing people is truly impossible. The mindset of managing people is actually the cause of most of an organization’s “people problems.”
Those two words should never be next to one another. We manage capital and we lead people. When they two words are used together the capital word “wins” and the people word is either minimized or forgotten altogether. That’s the genesis of many many personnel issues.
For those of you who still think managing and leading are one and the same I’d like you give a motivational talk to your inventory or budget right now and see how they respond.
If that sounds crazy to you then you get my point…it really is crazy to talk to stuff but it’s no more crazy than trying to manage human beings. You can’t lead things and you can’t manage people because leading and managing are not interchangeable.
Authentic Leaders understand the difference between managing and leading and never try to substitute one for the other. Do you?