The world needs more Leaders and fewer Managers!

"The world needs more leaders and fewer managers!"

I made this comment recently at a conference I was speaking at and received a lot of positive feedback. I was sharing my thoughts on the seven habits displayed by positive and productive leaders. I was explaining that every manager is not a leader!

Some are, but many aren’t. People think the title “Manager” is interchangeable with the term “Leader.” I beg to differ. A manager can be a leader, but a leader doesn’t have to be a manager. A leader is a person who inspires an individual or a group to live a dream. A manager is defined as someone who handles, controls or directs an activity or an enterprise. Managing is about controlling and reacting. Leading is about developing and being proactive. Managers can be leaders, but leaders are not managers.

The world is very fixed on titles. To many, titles verify your value and your standing. The truth is a title just signifies what you are responsible for. Leadership is about getting things done and leading individuals and groups in a certain direction. Leadership is about action. Good leaders prepare the people they lead to become better, take on future leadership roles and achieve a goal. They can inspire and motivate. People are drawn to leaders based on what they do, versus the position or title they have. Many of the best leaders in history never had a “formal” title. They were/are considered the leader of…

Managers are something different. They are assigned or given a position of leadership. The position can be earned, taken, assigned or given. Many managers are given work to complete, activities to maintain or prevent events from happening. People only follow them because their title calls for it. There are good managers who see their position as an opportunity to develop the people they manage. When a manager does this, they transform from a manager to a leader. Their focus has changed from work to a people-centered focus.

Managers tend to be a De Jure form of leadership. Once they get the title they feel people will follow them. In truth, it is the De Facto leaders who people follow. De Facto leaders are the people everyone really follows. This isn’t always a good thing, but the De Facto leaders are the leaders people trust, follow and are drawn too. The De Jure leaders feel they are in charge, but the De Facto leaders are the ones people listen too. It’s like parenting. You can have a mother and a father. The father may think he is the leader of the house because his title is “Man of the House,” but the true test of leadership is who the children listen to? If the father asks kids to do something and they ignore him, but mom ask the same and the kids follow, then dad is a manager, but mom is the leader.

Educational institutions spent years teaching Management. We now have a society full of people managing problems. We are now seeing more Leadership, Organization Development and Organizational Leadership Degrees being offered by the same educational institutions. Why? We need more Leaders!

Management versus Leadership is difficult to explain to people. They feel they are one and the same. The truth is, they are same and different. Both have the ability to lead people. Both can have people who are really good and really bad. At the end of the day, the difference comes down to why people follow them. People will follow leaders more than managers because of their earned respect. With a leader, you feel you are working with them. With a manager, you feel you are working for them. I would much rather be a leader than be a manager, what about you?

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