One of the best descriptions I heard about the difference between leadership and management is that the manager is focused on ensuring the people and projects are enabled to make progress (not necessarily the career ladder – it’s just about making progress on a particular project).
Whereas a leader is ensuring that the ladder is against the right wall. Or to quote Stephen Covey:
“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”
Having control of your business is important. There are a number of tasks you can do to ensure you’ve got a grip of the metrics, that you know the Key Performance Indicators which are important for your business success. Management of your business is key, but so is leadership. Personal leadership and team leadership.
What’s in a phrase? Let me answer the question with a short story. When I was in primary school we had swimming lessons. I remember being asked if I could “tread water“. This was the key question to work out which swimming class to put the children in: the beginners or the intermediates. I had no idea what it meant to tread water – I thought walking on water sounded cool – but I’d never seen anyone doing it, and thought it might be a trick question. I answered “no” to the question, and was dutifully put in the beginners class. Had I known all it meant was “swimming on the spot” – I would have answered yes – and have enjoyed my school swimming lessons so much more.
The reason I describe this is because many people I meet don’t think they’re a “leader”, or have “leadership skills” until we discuss: what does it mean to be an effective leader?
Much leadership writing can make leadership sound like a dark art or a black box of skills that you either have or don’t have.
They are some leadership skills that you probably have in great abundance already … and any that you need can be learned.
There are a number of blogs on this site that provide you with specific tools for developing your leadership skills.
Suzanne Hazelton is a Leadership Coach, Positive Psychologist and author of the Personal Development book: Raise Your Game. If you have any questions on Leadership, please do contact Suzanne or comment on the blogs.