One of the most challenging aspects of my career in B2B lead generation has been in learning how to lead people.
I've spent many hours reading and meditating on the subject. It can be a tricky, slippery slope. So, what’s the difference between Management and Leadership? Most people, myself included, once assumed that once they achieve a title of Manager that they are anointed a leader in the company. I challenge that, and I feel most would. I think that while you may be in a leadership role, that doesn’t mean you are leading anyone - meaning no one is following you.
What do you call a leader with no followers? Someone taking a walk. You thought I was going to say Manager didn’t you?
“It’s a fine thing to have ability, but to discover ability in others is the true test.” -Elbert Hubbard
A manager can only manage a process. While you can create a process and plug people into it, you should only expect what the process will allow for. If you want more than what you are getting out of your process, you have to become a Leader. You can’t manage people; you have to lead them.
“The carrot always wins over the stick. Ask your horse. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t manage him to drink. If you want to manage somebody manage yourself. Do that well and you will be ready to stop managing and start leading.” -John C. Maxwell
A leader is someone secure enough to serve his followers and inspires them all to the same goal for a common purpose bigger than a paycheck. This is how you accomplish the extraordinary. This is how organizations grow. Your organization cannot grow past your leadership.
Bruce Larson tells a story about Sandhill cranes in his book Wind and Fire: “These large birds, who fly great distances across continents, have three remarkable qualities. First, they rotate leadership. No one bird stays out in front all the time. Second, they choose leaders who can handle the turbulence. And then, all during the time one bird is leading, the rest are honking their affirmation.”
Five things you can do now to be a better leader:
- Praise in public; condemn in private.
- Make sure your words align with your actions.
- To be understood, seek first to understand.
- Ask questions instead of giving orders.
- Know what makes your team happy and motivate them that way.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” -Abraham Lincoln