Contrary to popular belief, there is a big difference between being an effective manager and demonstrating true leadership ability.
Individuals are often promoted into management positions once others in the organization notice their operational or technical expertise.
Despite the fact that being a highly effective individual contributor has little in common with being a successful leader, these newly minted managers begin to take on new responsibilities for helping people achieve goals and overseeing their work.
This new role usually involves making decisions, budgeting, planning the work of others, solving problems for the team as they arise, and gathering the data needed to ensure that commitments are met.
An effective manager is able to organize work, administer details, monitor progress, and communicate results.
Having some knowledge of the organization and industry and being talented in his or her specialty area—along with having the authority to drive results—is often enough preparation to perform well as a manager.
Leadership, on the other hand, is not easily mastered by every person who is promoted into a managerial role.
Effective leaders are able to truly leverage the talent that is present on their teams. This requires becoming an effective coach, communicator, motivator, and influencer.
These leaders achieve superior and innovative results by nurturing and developing the talents of their people.
Along with delivering those functional results, a true leader also drives commitment and retention and supports creativity and collaboration among team members.
People want to stay and work for the organization because they trust, respect, and admire the leader.
Highly successful leaders know that the time they spend developing people’s abilities and talents will serve the greater good of the individual, the team, and the organization.
John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
While there is certainly a place for effective managers, leadership is critical for achieving synergy, inspiring others to be creative, and building the organization’s culture.
Leadership can mobilize people to take calculated risks and embrace change during times of business uncertainty, and the people who follow those leaders will feel more comfortable with the unknowns because they trust their leaders to lead them down the right path.
Most managers don’t possess these skills when they first assume a formal position of leadership.
Leadership abilities must be learned and mastered over time, and becoming a truly great leader requires self-awareness and the willingness to engage in ongoing personal and professional development.
The ability to lead and influence people becomes increasingly important as you move from a first-line manager role into a middle-management position and beyond.
Higher up in the organization, leaders are more removed from the day-to-day work being performed and must be able to rely upon others to accomplish goals without rigid oversight. Senior leaders must also master the ability to think strategically about the business and its future.
Without effective leadership, the business would stagnate. If we keep our heads down monitoring and performing today’s work, we are likely to miss opportunities that will set us up for success in the future.
Managing tasks and responsibilities is always important, but leading people ensures that the business will capitalize on all of the talent within its walls and outpace the competition.
While it isn’t automatic or easy, the ability to lead others can be learned and will help you, your employees, and the business to reach its highest potential.
Contact CMOE today to assess the capabilities of the leaders in your organization and discuss how we can help you develop your leadership bench strength.