Consultant John Tschohl quotes Jack Welch as saying, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader it’s all about growing others.”
In this week’s Business Success article, Tschohl talks about what it takes to lead your organization — and how it means more than being a manager.
Everyone who has a job has a manager — but does everyone have a leader?
Managers are necessary and leaders are essential. Leadership is action, not position. Just because someone is in a role of control does not mean the person is a leader.
I never hear people complain about leaders, but every day someone somewhere complains about their boss or manager. In all my years of working with top companies I find the best leaders are typically poor managers, and the best managers are typically poor leaders — but all managers have to do some leading, and all leaders have to do some managing.
Finding the right balance for the job is what is really important.
What is a manager?
Poor managers tend to not want to “shake the ship.” They conform to the rules and standards set up by the company. They are not thinkers but doers.
A good manager is responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization. Managing encompasses the use of company resources and good execution.
A manager is responsible for setting goals. A good manager gets employees to set goals, and makes sure that employees hit those goals. If employees fail to do so, the manager’s job is ultimately on the line. This can cause some friction and stress in the relationship between a manager and employee.
A manager’s responsibility is to legislate and regulate. A manager relies on control of every situation at all times. Budgets, hiring and firing, reprimanding, making lists, problem solving, following strict procedures, following strict rules, establishing agendas, allocating resources, planning, facilitating, establishing rules and procedures, and controlling potential risks.
Managers tend to manage in environments where there isn’t much change, and stick to the status quo. They stick to rules and procedures, and are uncomfortable working outside of those boundaries. Managers tend to be reactive and avoid conflict. Employees are unable to make empowered decisions because they are being managed, not led.
Managers often do NOT work well with others. They implement their own guidelines and expect others to follow. Their main objective is hitting goals. Managers are guided by numbers and outcomes. Their main goal is to keep the machine moving along.
What is a Leader?
A leader is completely different from a manager.
Leaders do not just do things right — they do the right thing.
Leadership has been defined as a process through which a person influences and motivates others to get involved in accomplishment of a particular task. Leaders are cheerleaders and don’t mind other people getting the credit. A leader coaches, inspires, copes with change, has relationships with others, develops people, fixes break downs, gives credit, genuinely wants people to succeed, creates and seeks opportunities, challenges the status quo, innovates, originates… Again, the list goes on.
Leaders are rare. Unfortunately, the majority of people will never work for a leader.
I have found that leadership is the essential tool for commitment from employees. Without a leader, employees lose hope — and their commitment to the company is drastically reduced. It’s not that they don’t want to do better, it’s that they have no one to inspire them or encourage them to do so.
Companies today hug the philosophy of management. They have forgotten what leadership is. Without leadership, all else is lost. Wars are not won on management alone. A leader is essential to inspire an organization to go beyond what they thought possible and to believe it is possible.
From management to leadership
You can build leaders by helping managers develop their leadership skills.
In most firms, we are dependent on people to deliver the product or service. They are not machines — they are fragile human beings who want more than a pay check. They thrive on recognition. Employees work harder and more effectively for leaders than managers. Employees become more indispensable and extraordinary.
Great leaders move up. Learn how to become a leader. Develop your entire leadership team from top to bottom.
John Tschohl is president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His books include the new 10th edition of Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service.