This is a question I'm asked quite often by leaders, and it's usually followed with, "
How will I really know if my 'good' employee is ready for a leadership role?
There are a lot of great resources that exist on this very topic, and coupled with my insights let's tackle these answers together.
When I was first given a department to manage, I remember my boss saying, "
Jeanne you know the work, you get along well with others, but when you are a manager you will find managing people is very different than simply getting along with them." I have always remembered this because he was spot on!
One of the primary differences between a manager and a leader is the way in which they motivate individuals and teams to achieve an objective. Let's take a closer look at what it means to be a manager versus a leader.
Managers direct their staff to complete tasks. They rely on their staff to get their work done, and hold them accountable for performing their daily duties.
Leaders on the other hand, are influencers that inspire and motivate staff. They strive to get the best out of people as it directly relates to the organization's success.
A leader's primary responsibility is to lead, and the foundation of leadership is to lead by trust.
A leader doesn't assume a leadership role just because someone hands them a title. You can only become a leader when people trust you to lead them, and that trust is required on both sides.
Not only do others need to trust you, but you have to trust yourself even more. Why? Simply put, in order to be an effective leader you need to lead by example (not by fear), and motivate others. This means that the notion of forcing others to comply with your vision is simply not an option. If you believe in yourself, and the power of your team's combined energy and brilliance, only then can you achieve great leadership. Bottom line: a leader is someone who looks inward, doesn't assume they have all the answers, and recognizes they cannot be successful without being humble enough to listen to the people around them.
Leadership does require confidence and having a "take charge" behavior, but again successful leaders choose to lead and help others become successful. Leaders are not timid because timid people tend not to assume authority roles.
I like this quote from Sharon Anthony Bower, "
he basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well-being of others.
Assertiveness is communicating with someone that states your message clearly respecting the other person with whom you are communicating. On the other hand, being aggressive is a form of verbal behavior or nonverbal behavior, from someone who is typically angry and destructive, and who intends to be physically or emotionally abusive. It is almost impossible to become a leader who inspires confidence and commitment if you have an aggressive personality. If you're assertive; however, it's much easier to gain commitment, accountability and results because others are bought-in.
Let's also take a look at how leaders and managers share some similar traits because they absolutely do. Both leaders and managers serve as models for their teams and the organization. No matter what you may think, people will notice and follow what you do. Therefore, if you want excellence and enthusiasm from your team, then you too would model excellence and enthusiasm in everything you do and say. If you're energetic that energy will be contagious.
In order to be successful, both managers and leaders will also step in to provide a clear direction and take practical steps. When putting on your leadership hat, you always want to consider how your actions and words give shape to the future and promote a can-do attitude.
Truly, the best choice is to be a leader who can fulfil a manager's role, a leadership role and know when each role is needed. If you're a leader, I offer you this last piece of advice: authority is a gift, use it wisely.
If you've ever wondered if you have the potential to become a leader, or want to fine tune your leadership skills, please contact us for leadership training. We'd love to help!