Management is not Leadership!

Management is not Leadership!


This is going to be the start of a series of articles on Leadership.  Leadership not in the way it is often discussed, but rather leadership in the fashion I feel most supports change, innovation and employee engagement.

Working with family owned food, beverage and agribusinesses I often find owners who function as managers but not as leaders. A manager gets things done through others. They accomplish this by planning, organizing, allocating and controlling. All organizations need managers. Someone must plan and organize activity, allocate resources and direct personnel. But directing is not leading. Often, the reality is that an owner or CEO must also wear the hat of the manager. However, don’t confuse that with being a leader.  Managers do not run growing companies. Leaders drive growth.

A leader inspires and encourages others. They provide focus and clarity.  Leadership requires vision and creativity. We often confuse leadership with position power. In many cases we assign leadership to a position, regardless of whether the person occupying that role has the prerequisite leadership qualities.  I would argue that leadership is not about position power. It is not about where one stands on an organizational chart. It has nothing to do with profit and loss. Rather it is about personal power, something earned and cultivated.  

We often talk about leadership in regards to results. He or she led them through a turn-around or a M&A.  The way in which I believe leadership is cultivated is through characteristics not typically fostered in the modern business environment. Leadership emanates from authenticity, compassion, vulnerability and humility. Oddly and sadly, many of those traits would be considered signs of weakness rather than leadership. Acting with authenticity, truly caring about your employees, being engaged and present is powerful. Showing compassion, vulnerability and being humble is the embodiment of strength.  

I have had the opportunity to ask many to describe the most influential leaders they have worked with during their career. Not once has that description been about planning, organizing, allocating or controlling. Nor has it been about profit and loss or position power. It has always been centered on being heard, cared for, respected and valued. It has included attributes such as honesty, integrity, humility, and compassion. I would roll that all up under being authentic.

The challenge is how do we develop leaders with these attributes and not just managers with those skills previously mentioned? This will be the topic of future articles, but I would posit this thought to be digested. The power for transformation is in the people, not in the numbers. Developing strong interpersonal skills, and connecting and caring about those you lead will do much more to broaden your influence than just focusing on the numbers and the results.

To learn more about this form of leadership and personal power, schedule a free growth session.