Be The Leader, Not Just A Manager

I was talking to a second level manager at an organization the other day and the challenge she was dealing with related to gaining the respect of her subordinates and having them see her as the leader of her department.

When I asked her if she saw herself as a manager or a leader, she told me that she saw herself as a manager and not a leader. I asked her what the difference was and she kind of chuckled and told me that as a manager, she doesn’t feel as if she has to take on as much responsibility as she would if she were the leader!

I followed up with a question about how the organization viewed her and she didn’t hesitate to say that her boss told her that he wants her to be a leader—set the vision—create a can-do culture, and hold people accountable so that the work gets done in a way that creates real value for the company. We set up the framework for our coaching to help her become a leader.

Leaders bring value to the organization. They demonstrate their worth by creating something new and not just moving the ball ahead in the same way it has always progressed. Innovation, creativity, inspiration are a few of the key ideas that differentiates leaders from managers. Becoming a high achieving leader means that you deliver great ideas that move into action. Try some of these ideas:

1. Realize that yesterday’s great ideas are just commodities today.
2. Promote new ideas that are derived from your team’s experiences and knowledge.
3. Like my coachee above, if you do not feel like a leader, go ahead and look around you at the leaders in your organization and begin modeling the behavior of that person. Follow their leads.
4. Find a mentor or someone you can talk with in your company about your leadership style. Ask your supervisor for feedback about your leadership style and how you can strengthen it.
5. Be clear about your expectations for your team and establish and state what you expect them to do within your prescribed timeframes.

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