Sunday, June 27, 2010

Outstanding Leaders Are . . . Leadership Is . . . Not Management.

"Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel.
If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish."

-- Sam Walton

Leadership is much more of an art, a belief, a condition of the heart,
than a set of things to do. The visible signs of artful leadership
are expressed, ultimately, in its practice."

-- Max DePree

Leaders are so different than managers. I have seen and experienced a lot of managers, but very few leaders. A leader cares, a manager dares. Essentially, a leader says, 'come, follow me!' and a manager says, 'I hired you to get this job done.' There is a world of difference between these.

Most managers that I have met and experienced did not really seem to care about people; instead, they cared only about results, filling the schedule, getting things done--in other words: tasks. They must have bought that old (old and very tired. . .) adage that management is getting things done through other people. I've seen these managers put people on schedules that are hard on their family life and in the end it decreases performance dramatically too. I've seen them command high expectations of performance, yet do very little, or ineffective training. Many of these managers were themselves untrained and skilled.

What the employees are really looking and hoping for is a manager who is also a leader. This person is someone who does care how many hours the employee is working because he or she is thinking long term and wanting healthy, happy employees. This leader understands how important the family life is to the longevity of their employees and the progressive realization of their own goals. This leader does effective training and is ensuring that the employees have the skills necessary to be able to make decisions that are in the best interests of the customer and the company. This person allows and rewards success while building character. Too many managers are focused on what is wrong, where leaders are focused on what is right and what works and how to make that better. It is a positive focus rather than a negatively oriented one. Huge difference.

A leader can leave for a period and the business will stay on course. This is not true with many managers I've known. Those managers would rarely leave because they couldn't let go of their 'control.' In reality, when they leave, the business does not thrive. What a world of difference that can be.

For you managers who think I might be talking about you, I recommend studying leadership. A great place to start is one of my favorite leadership books by one of the people whose quote I used above: Max DePree. The book is titled appropriately, Leadership Is An Art. He had a follow up book to that called Leadership Jazz. Any of Harvey Mackay's books are very good. Jeffrey Gitomer's books focus on sales in general, but really they are about leadership and I highly recommend them all, especially Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless. I have a long list and each is excellent. Dive in anywhere and get thoroughly whetted. It will change not only your life, but all those in your management circle.

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