“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch

Are you a manager? You coordinate the administration of tasks to ensure your team achieves their goals and hits their targets.

Are you a leader? You inspire your team to comprehend and believe in a vision, and their passion causes them to become innovative and create massive results.

Even as you read the two sentences, I imagine the second sentence sounds more compelling. 

The truth is to get the absolute best out of a team, you are required to lead each member.  It requires treating each individual as who you see them becoming rather than who they presently are. It is to lead by example and earn the right to challenge every team member to become solution-focused, creative and courageous. We are our absolute best when we are growing.

This week I explore the fundamental difference between leadership and management and why most people are ill-equipped to assume leadership positions.  

Are you leading or managing?

People often mistake leadership and management. However, there are critical distinctions between managing and leading people.

To Manage means to handle, which implies a high degree of direct involvement.  Managers focus on tasks and activities rather than people. They coordinate and delegate tasks, give instructions and monitor deadlines. Managers often rely on positional power to ensure execution and outcomes.

To lead means to go before and prepare the way.  Leaders, by contrast, focus on people. Leadership is the ability to influence others. It is to inspire people to act because they chose to, not because they have to. Leaders are committed to inspire and motivate, using positional power as a last resort.  

How do you create an environment where leadership can occur?

#1 The First Person We Each Must Lead Is Ourselves: 

Environments that cause leadership see each person as a leader no matter where they stand.  They inspire everyone to take 100% responsibility for innovation, solutions and creativity in their role. 

#2  Ensure People Feel Safe:

Create an environment where people understand that they have permission to lead.  For this to occur, each person must feel safe, respected and trusted to make decisions. Where solutions and new ideas are encouraged, and failure and innovation are a natural part of the journey to success.   

#3 Recognize People For Their Brilliance:

When you relate to people as their brilliance, they are inspired to stretch and grow. When this happens, people feel safe and supported to generate new ideas and solutions. This dynamic environment never gets stale or comfortable. People are continuously in the process of making their best better. Recognizing each team member’s gifts and talents creates a space where peers see each other’s capacity and hold one another accountable for growth. This culture creates loyalty and the condition where employees feel respected, valued and safe.

In the words of Robin Sharma, leadership requires no title. It is a byproduct of a commitment to become your best self.  It’s when you shift your mindset from being task-focused to people-focused.  It is to empower people to take ownership of the environment they choose to work in and the experience they create for one another. Managers who choose to empower people create cultures where people lead by example rather than depending on a title.

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