Managing things is a critical function for any business or organization. It is equally critical for all managers and leaders within any business or organization to understand that they do in fact manage “things” but that the people of that business or organization require leadership.
Some of the things that need managing are capital equipment like copiers and computers. Vehicles, buildings, forklifts, and other similar types of equipment are typical of the type of things that get managed. Part of managing those things is putting them on a depreciation schedule for tax purposes. Each year a business or organization owns those “things” they are worth less. They depreciate in value.
No manager, no matter how bad at managing they may be, can cause the value of a human being as a person to depreciate. They can however cause the productivity and commitment level of that human being to depreciate rather quickly. All they need to do is attempt to manage that person as if they were a “thing” instead of leading them as if they are a person.
We have talked a lot in this series about the difference between managing and leading but here is the bottom line. If you’re in a leadership position and you’re attempting to manage your people as if they are co-equals with your “things” then you are creating the vast majority of the issues that you would describe as “personnel issues.”
Many people in leadership positions would say they have people reporting to them who have poor attitudes. They claim to have people who are often tardy and when they finally show up for work they are disengaged. Leaders in name only complain about low productivity people and people who show no initiative. The list of problems and complaints go on and on.
What these leaders in name only fail to understand is that the root cause of nearly 100% of these problems point directly to them. If you’re in a leadership position and you’re trying to manage your people instead of leading them then YOU are almost certainly the cause of every “people problem” you’re complaining about.
I know that isn’t easy to hear but it is a reality you must come to grips with if you’re ever going to become an Authentic Leader.
The good news is that you don’t need better people. There are no better people in the world than the ones you have now. If you think they need to change then you need to change.
You need to change from a person who merely occupies a position of leadership to an Authentic Leader. You need to treat your people like the emotional human beings they are. You need to tap into their hopes. You need to tap into their dreams. You need to tap into their natural enthusiasm. You need to tap into their goals, their needs and their good ideas.
If you don’t see those things in the people you have in your organization today then I’ll guarantee you that you’re trying to manage them instead of investing the time required to authentically lead them.
The fastest way to change anything is to change how you look at it. Do not look at your people as “human assets” or “Human Resources” or for heavens sake, things. See them as the special human beings that they are. Then treat them that way. Lead them!
Before you know it all those “people problems” will fade away. You’ll be tempted to think that your people have all changed but what they have become was always there. It’s is you who will have changed.
You’ll have changed from a person who merely occupies a position of leadership to someone who actually leads. You’ll have made a difference in the lives of your people and you’ll never attempt to manage your people again.
This is the final installment of the Managing vs Leading series. I hope you will take it to heart. The world has plenty of insightful and incredibly effective managers. What the world needs is more Authentic Leaders. Many many more.
Can you be one of those who decide to make a difference? You can if you make the decision to Lead Today. I hope you will!
3 thoughts on “Managing vs Leading – Part Eight”
Great post on leadership. Insightful and educative. “The fastest way to change anything is to change how you look at it”. I believe the best viewpoint is vital to appreciating the whole. Thank you for your contribution to leadership.
Thanks Charles, I appreciate your kind words.