Picture two fires ablaze in your beloved community. Different individuals represent each building with equally good plans on how to stop the fire. One steps forward reminding the people that his historic site has a valuable legacy to all, while the other structure is merely an empty warehouse. He calls out with hands held high for everyone to grab their buckets and form a line, chanting cheers to their accomplishments. The other person gets out their blow horn barking out orders to get going, demanding results or else, “I’ll hit you with my cane.”
Where would you focus your efforts? To whom would you give your highest level of efforts? People who are inspired to do their best for a larger purpose bring substantially more than lemmings “going through the motions” in fear of disciplinary action.
This story simply illustrates the value of both leadership and management and why they must co-exist to have truly great accomplishments. You need to simultaneously have a larger perspective and be able to clearly define the steps to get where you need to go. A higher vantage point benefits one greatly with vision and knowledge, but at the same time, one cannot do what one cannot define.
Last week, we held a Luminary Board meeting with some of the top C-Level minds in our area. The discussion was around how to make good managers better, of course, and the constant betterment of the approach to make that a reality. A resonating point was brought to light when a brilliant mind surmised, “An ‘A’ player to me is not just a manager but a leader.” What a difference.
To gain further perspective, here is a quick checklist to help define those differences between managers and leaders:
Manage other’s activities……Motivate others to achieve
Make plans……Promote vision
Formal authority dictated……Given authority through influence
Task focused……Achievement focused
Risk averse……Risk seeking
Have subordinates……Have followers
Focus on things……Focus on people
Create systems……Create an environment
Short-term approach……Long-term approach
Administers and tracks change…….Maintains continual improvement
Acquired rewards……Intrinsic rewards
All about control……All about trust
The fact is, the most effective leaders have both characteristics. But managers without leadership traits simply will not become true leaders. What they can do is focus their efforts around ongoing improvements that increase their performance to help close the gap.
It has been said…Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things. Utopia exists when we are doing the right things right.