When I started the job, I considered manager and leader to be synonyms. Managers lead and leaders manage, right ? With time, I realized, it’s not the case. Manager is a specific role, just as elementary school teacher & heart surgeon are specific roles. There are clear principles outlining what a manager does & how his success is measured. Leadership on the other hand, is the particular skill of being able to guide & influence other people. What makes a good leader is that they eschew the spotlight in favour of spending time and energy to do what they need to do to support and protect their people. In return, we offer our blood, sweat and tears and do everything we can see our leader’s vision come to life.
Now, a manager who doesn’t know how to influence others isn’t going to be particularly effective at improving the outcomes of his/her team. So to be a great manager , one must certainly be a leader.
A leader on the other hand, doesn’t have to be a manager. Anyone can exhibit leadership, regardless of their role. Think of a passionate citizen going door to door and convincing neighbors to join him in protesting a recent decision. Think of generations upon generations of mothers and fathers demonstrating to their children what it means to act like a responsible adult.
If you picture your own organization now, you can probably come up with many examples of leadership; an individual contributor who surfaces important customer complaints and then coordinates solutions across multiple teams, a team member who rallies a group to work on a new idea. If you can pinpoint a problem & motivate others to work with you to solve it, then you’re leading.
Leadership is a quality rather than a job. We are all leaders and followers at different points in our lives. Great managers should cultivate leadership not just in themselves but also within their teams. This is an important distinction because while the role of a manager can be given to someone(or taken away), leadership is not something that can be bestowed. It must be earned.
On this note, I wish all of you best in life and would love to see each one of us to play the role of leaders with an intent to make a positive impact across the society. Thank you once again for reading by blog , I am ever grateful.