Management VS Leadership
The difference is clear, managers manage “things” and great leaders “Lead” people.
I’ve worked for and worked with many brilliant minds in the last 20 years. I have been privileged to have worked my way up the corporate latter to encounter opportunities for my mind and my personal growth and then ventured out to build my own business. Traveling the world and the country taught me that great leaders are all the same. They have characteristics that can be found across the board.
The same is true for “managers.” I found that managers trying to manage people were disruptive and unfortunate, with-in the American Corporation. So many employees in positions of authority using power instead of leadership to inspire employees to perform at their peak is a recipe for disaster.
I’ll share what I found and why it matters.
In 1996 while in the United States Air Force I found that one of the common leadership characteristics for a great leader was “integrity.” I do not want this to sound cliché, so, allow me to explain.
A great leader with “integrity” can be an absolute jerk however when it comes to saying one thing and doing it, it holds true 100% of the time. At the end of the day, that is, the type of leader I would go into battle with. Yes, the person may be a total jerk. However, no one is perfect. I found that leaders with high integrity with themselves were the best type of leaders.
In 2000 I worked for a senior Vice President that was so good at connecting with her team that they would jump off a cliff if she asked them. She connected, and she had loyalty. What made her a great leader was her ability to “Connect” not just communicate. She connected at a heart level, and it was incredible. She built a great team that resulted in running a great department and then, only after the fact, the company was great.
One does not join a great company; one creates a great company by hiring great leaders. It is never the other way around.
The third thing I found was that great leaders had a great desire to be of “service to others.” They talked in terms helping others grow. The vocabulary they used was very different from the “managers” that did not understand the difference between leadership and management.
In 2002 I worked for a Mayor in Puerto Rico that was the epitome of serving others. His ability to show people how much he wanted to help them and served them was infections. Because of this, his staff and team also mirrored this behavior. His city was the top within the island in terms of its economy and its reputation. His common theme was about serving others and leaving the city better than he found it.
I was fortunate to be part of his staff and learned what it means to serve on a massive scale. The most impressive thing was that he was humble and showed people he was there to serve in every conversation. It was who he was being at every moment that impressed me the most.
Now, integrity, connection and a heart of service were not something I found in all the “managers” I encountered. The managers I interacted with had language that was the complete opposite. The language that “managers” used were phrases such as “you work for me,” “do this now,” “I am the manager,” “I am in charge, ” and the list goes on. This type of vocabulary was never present in the great leaders I encountered.
All of this is important because I find a direct correlation between the kind of language “great leaders” use versus the kind of language “managers” use.
I once heard Jim Rohn share a story about prison inmates and how a study was done to find how and why so many of our men end up in prison. Inadvertently, they discovered that the lower their vocabulary, the higher likelihood of ending up in prison.
He went on to explain that words were like seeing the world through a peek hole the bigger your vocabulary the bigger your peek hole and your world. The greater understanding of how people and communities work the more words you had within your repertoire.
What they found was that more than 90% of prison inmates had a 3rd to 4th-grade reading level. They understood enough to see the world as a very, very small place. Similar to, how children see the world. One that involves only the people around them, not to include or room for understanding philosophies or grand scale concepts such as service to humanity.
I found this to be fascinating and completely accurate when it came to great leaders vs. managers. It never failed that great leaders had a bigger understanding of the world. Not necessarily a bigger vocabulary, however, a bigger perspective of the world.
The managers I encountered had a minuscule view of the world. Most never traveled outside their own state and believed the USA was better than everyone else so why would they travel anywhere else in the world.
Two different ways of looking at the world and people. Great leaders are truly a product of a deep understanding of how the world works globally and how people work internally. A Good manager understands how to move people from one place to another, perhaps how to increase sales and maybe run a great front office. However, I found that they see the world through an incredibly small peek hole. Their vocabularies are limited to “do this or I will fire you,” I am the boss, and I will tell you what to do vs. “how can I help you” and “how can I be of service.”
This concept of “being of service’ eludes all managers. Leaders have the idea of service ingrained in their spirit. They connect without an agenda, and they are truthful to themselves and others. I can share with you that I have been privileged to have been led by the best in the corporate world and now as an entrepreneur.
Integrity, connection and serving others is at the cutting edge of what it means to be a “Great Leader” in 2017
John Maxwell Coach, HeartMath® Coach