That’s all I really have to say this week, so if you really, really get it, you can stop reading now. If you have any questions about this, please read on.
The terminology all around the internet frequently confuses the roles of leaders and managers, but the distinction is absolutely critical. Leaders create. Managers construct. Your organization should consider this in everything it does.
Into which category do you fall? Are you the leader, or are you a manager?
I know, some people will argue that these roles intertwine. I suppose that’s true to some extent. A manager can put on the leadership hat from time to time, but your first priority as manager is to make certain that processes are followed and measured, that productivity is enhanced, and that the goal is achieved.
Leaders, however, should rarely put on the hat of management. If a leader is managing, it’s either an old, bad habit or there is some lack of trust in management to get things done. Your job as the leader is to prepare for – and create – change. That’s it. If you’re doing something else, your organization is standing still. And as the rest of the world passes you by, you’re actually falling behind.
The leader’s job is to think, to create, to research, to prepare for, to envision, to dream, to study, to plan, to invent, to decide, and finally to communicate clearly. The manager’s job is to devise and oversee processes that achieve the leader’s vision, and to do so productively and profitably.
If you are the leader:
- Assess the current situation.
- Research options diligently. Get input of others from inside and outside of your organization.
- Develop a plan to respond to – or create – change.
- Crystallize and communicate your plan clearly.
- Guide, but let go.
- Rinse and repeat.
If you are the manager:
- Restate the plan to the leader to ensure clarity.
- Communicate the goals to your team.
- Devise and/or adjust processes to achieve the goals. Gain input from your team.
- Implement and manage procedures.
- Measure outcomes.
It is important to distinguish between these two roles because they are your foundation for getting things done. Where there is crossover, there is confusion and stagnation.
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