The people you want in your agency (or should want) are not interested in being managed, but they are more than willing to be led.
What’s the difference and why does it matter?
This isn’t about a title, but an almost intangible quality. Residing in the C-suite does not make you a leader, just as having a management title doesn’t prevent you from being a leader.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for management in our agencies, but it isn’t with our people, at least the right people. Processes need to be managed; people need to be led. If you find that you have people in need of “minimum-standard” management, it’s time to get some new people.
Rather than focusing on a list of traits for each, I prefer to focus on the positive results of a strong leader. However, if I had to bring the differences down to one point, it would be this:
Managers tend to be focused on ensuring that the bare minimum is achieved, while leaders focus on ensuring that the full potential is recognized.
My hope is that when you read the following list, there are several people within your agency who come to mind.
What leaders do - they . . .
- communicate a vision of where the organization is going and how every individual is key to getting there
- are the first to volunteer for trying something new
- create energy
- mentor and take responsibility for other people’s success
- coach their people through challenges and help them find new levels of success
- understand that helping people find their own creative answer is infinitely more valuable than handing them the “corporate approved” solution
- inspire through their own action rather than creating bureaucratic inaction
- transfer confidence to others
- are self-confident enough to be vulnerable with their team
- are sought out rather than avoided
- allow themselves, and those around them, the luxury of failing from time to time as they challenge themselves to reach new heights
- separate the exceptional organizations from the merely successful
Like I already said, I hope several people in your agency come to mind when you read this list, but if they don’t, you probably need some new people.
Photo by Lisamarie Babik.