Guest Author - Dianne Walker
If you could rate yourself regarding being a leader on a scale of 1 to 10, what would your score be? When you consider the definition of leadership, are you a true leader or are you a manager? While there is nothing wrong with being a manager, the corporate environment is now leaning toward a “leadership rich” work environment.
Plato had a specific philosophy on the concept of leadership. He believed only a few people could be leaders. Others, however, hold a different philosophy on the ability of people to lead. Others are of the belief that anyone could be a leader. In fact, by having people are willing to follow, you are in essence a leader. But does that always hold true?
In order to understand where you may fall in the leadership versus management spectrum, it is important to first understand the definition of the two terms. A manager manages processes and/or people. Their job is to ensure the tasks and duties of their staff are complete. A manager provides direction and ensures workflow to produce maximum efficiency. A leader is different from a manager.
Think back to someone you would consider a true leader. A leader is a lover of many things - wisdom and learning. A leader has a true understanding, not only of the organization, but of self as well. Leaders strive to understand the psychology of human behavior. Leaders, not only manage, but they are adaptable to any circumstances that arise and are great communicators. Most importantly, leaders are great “connectors”.
Does this mean leaders do not make mistakes? Absolutely not. Leaders learn by mistakes. What makes them true leaders is they do not continue to make the same mistakes. Leaders strive for continuous improvement.
Ask your peers what identifiable traits they believe will make a great leader. The answers you receive will be vast, but with a common thread. A leader is someone who is extremely supportive and encourages them to do their best at all times. Does this mean a leader can not correct an employee’s errors? Definitely not. A leader, however, uses the error as a developmental opportunity for the employee and administers the training with respect for the employee and not as chance to cause embarrassment.
A leader’s actions speak louder then their words and maintain high ethical and moral values. This is especially true since most employees may not remember a single word you said but they will remember your actions. Ask yourself, are you a leader or a manager?