When it comes to positions of leadership, there is a vast difference between those who merely manage and those who truly lead. Rather than being qualities that are naturally ingrained, more often, those differences are intangibles learned through lived experience. If you don’t feel like a natural leader, there’s no reason you can’t become one.
The late Warren Bennis was one of the pioneers of thinking on leadership. In his piece On Becoming a Leader, he wrote 12 short, aphoristic sentences that do well to distill those intangible differences between manager and leader. Give them a read below.
The manager administers;
the leader innovates.
The manager is a copy;
the leader is an original.
The manager maintains;
the leader develops.
The manager focuses on systems and structure;
the leader focuses on people.
The manager relies on control;
the leader inspires trust.
The manager has a short-range view;
the leader has a long-range perspective.
The manager asks how and when;
the leader asks what and why.
Managers have their eyes on the bottom line;
leaders have their eyes on the horizon.
The manager imitates;
the leader originates.
The manager accepts the status quo;
the leader challenges it.
The manager is the classic good soldier;
the leader is his own person.
The manager does things right;
the leader does the right thing.
How did you identify with these sentences when you read them? Did you get the feeling that you are more of a “good soldier” with a “short-range view” and a focus on maintaining “control” over your employees? Or did you identify with the leader who “inspires trust” and has the confidence to “be an original” or challenge what they see by asking “what and why”?
Want to talk about your situation and what you can do to become a better leader? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.