Manage Things, Lead People

Management guru Tom Peters once said “The leader is not a devil’s advocate, but a cheerleader”. Just think about great leaders, what about great coaches in sports? Phil Jackson is a great leader whether he was with the Chicago Bulls or LA Lakers, he led his team; he didn’t manage his team.

We manage things including tasks, jobs, numbers and information; we lead people and teams. The difference between management and leadership in the traditional sense is that the higher you climb the corporate ladder, the less time spent on management activities and more time is spent on leadership responsibilities. Being good at your job is not enough anymore; you need to be good with people.

First time managers typically micro-manage and have trouble delegating. They have yet to learn that leading people comes down to having a vision, and making people feel good about their contribution to that vision. It’s about motivation and getting employees to want to follow you.

Being inspiring is one of main things people associate with good leadership. Employees want to be led, not managed. Work makes up half of our waking day so we want to do something that inspires us. When you are leading people, you inspire change, growth and excellence. This comes from not only presenting the business logic or facts of a decision, but the emotion based inspiration. Appealing to logic alone means people may understand the reason for the change but it seldom gets them into action. Charismatic leaders know that people are primarily emotionally driven; they make sure they appeal to both the heart and the head.

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