I was recently reminded (rather uncomfortably) about the difference between working for a manager and working for a leader.
When you step into a position where you will be responsible for people and the work that they accomplish, you need to make a decision: are you going to be a manager or are you going to be a leader?
If you choose to manage, your focus will be on efficiency, so you will direct people on what to do and how to do it. Your focus is on the work, and the people are a means to getting it done.
If you choose to lead, your focus will be on development, so you will inspire people to achieve goals. Your focus is on the people, and the work gets done as a consequence of developing them and their skills.
Note that, in both cases, the work gets done; but there is a substantial difference in what happens after the work is completed. There is always more work to do, but people don’t always stay. When you choose efficiency over your people … well very few people like to be treated like a commodity resource, so you will have to find and train new resources again and again.
So how do you know whether you are a manager or a leader?
- Do you give your team members directions or goals?
- If a team member does something differently than you would, do you criticize or encourage?
- When they report progress, do you look for what they missed or what they got right?
- When they express a new idea, do you nurture or find fault?
- Do you communicate often, and do you include praise?
- Can you describe a personal benefit each person gets from being on your team?
Work doesn’t love or respect you, people do; and when people love their leader, they (and the knowledge and skills they hold) stick around. That sounds to me like a much more efficient way to get things done.
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