You may be a great manager, yet not a great leader. And if you are aspiring to elevate yourself and your career, regardless of your current job level, you need to be a great leader as well.
So, let’s begin by looking at some of the differences between “leadership” and “management”:
- often bestowed upon an individual through title, hierarchy, or assignment
- managing by directing, controlling, planning, organizing things, processes and people
- the transactional side of the business (getting things done)
- focused on efficiency and productivity
- operating within shorter time horizons
- mostly earned through consistently demonstrated leadership behavior like being a great role model
- leading people by inspiring, motivating, coaching, impacting, and influencing them (even if they don’t report to you)
- the transformational side of the business (making an impact)
- focused on effectiveness
- longer-term focused, purpose-driven
You don’t have to be a manager to be a leader. In fact, leadership can happen at any level within an organization. Leadership is about “being” a leader and demonstrating leadership qualities. Competencies such as: building strong collaborative relationships, setting an example for others, developing followership, interpersonal intelligence, maintaining composure, courageous authenticity, good decision-making skills, purpose-driven, and the ability to think critically and strategically. And while this is not a complete list of leadership qualities, what we do know is that few people are born with these qualities.
So, why develop leaders?
- There is strong evidence that links leadership effectiveness to business results
- Effective leaders outperform ineffective leaders
- Organizations face escalating complexity requiring more leadership from their people at every level
- Building leaders is a process
No matter what your role is today, you can be a better leader in your workplace. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Do your best work and be a star performer. Most people are just average, so with a little bit of effort, you can be above average.
- Build strong working relationships with your colleagues, peers, direct reports (if you have them), and others in your circle of influence.
- Get better at managing yourself. This includes time and task management, punctuality, preparedness, as well as how you show up.
- Model the behavior you observe and admire of effective leaders in your organization. Be a student of great leadership.
- Hire a coach to assist you in developing your leadership competencies.
Leadership develops over time with experience, coaching, and training, access to good role models, and mentors. You can enhance your leadership competencies and become a great leader.