You can arrange these two leadership functions — managing things and leading people — on a matrix (see illustration).
Strong Manager, Weak Leader. This person prepares excellent plans, but nothing gets done. At one company, managers wrote business plan after business plan and made projection after projection. When the company missed a plan, the CEO just developed another one. Nothing was implemented on time or to budget. People felt no responsibility and little got accomplished.
Weak Manager, Strong Leader. This leader is likely to take his organization right over a cliff as he runs out of resources, breaks laws, or attempts the clearly impossible. One of the strongest leaders I ever knew was good on everything except sticking to the law. Unfortunately, people would follow him blindly. The company was performing very well, but had set targets too high. The leader gave people the sense that he didn’t care how they met the targets. They bent the accounting rules, and he ignored that. Eventually, the management team was censured and fired, and the company lost major market value.
Weak Manager, Weak Leader. This is the ineffective CEO who neither plans well nor accomplishes important goals. He does not usually last long, or the company will stagnate or fail.
Strong Manager, Strong Leader. This is the CEO who does most things right. She sees that the necessary things are scheduled and happen on time, on budget, and to acceptable quality standards. She sees that the right people are in place, are stimulated to exceptional performance, and are handled promptly as needed if they underperform.
A manager should strive to become an inspiration to the rest of the employees. Employees will follow a manager because the manager is the boss. However, a manager that is an inspiration means that employees follow that person because they believe in what the manager is doing and they are trying to help the company achieve its goals. Finding ways to inspire employees means coaching them and motivating them to succeed as integral parts of the company.
Leading Affects Morale
The way a manager leads greatly affects employee morale within the department and company as a whole. Managers should create a climate that encourages new ideas and employee input. The more the employees feel that they have a say in the company, the more they will be willing to share ideas and attempt to find better ways to improve processes. For example, a good manager may reward employees with monetary or benefit incentives if they can increase output of a product. Another idea is a treasure box of goodies. Managers can set a goal early in the week and employees who meet the goal by the end of the week are allowed to take a prize from the treasure box.
Leading is Key to Effective Communication
For a manager to be an effective leader, he or she must also be an effective communicator. A manager that shares information and lets employees know the latest news in the company is someone that is deemed trustworthy by his or her employees. Employees feel little loyalty or trust towards a manager who does not readily give out information.
Leading Effectively Contributes More to the Bottom Line
An effective leader inspires employees, which allows those employees to feel like they are making a meaningful contribution to the company. Satisfied employees generally work harder and take more ownership in their job positions. This can mean happy customers and a higher level of customer service.
Great leaders in an organization affect the employees they supervise, but they also inspire those in other parts of the company. Effective leadership is infectious and should be spread to as many areas of the organization as possible; doing this will result in a highly-coordinated effort to please both customers and employees.
1. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu
2. Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18
3. I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? —Benjamin Disraeli
4. You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
5. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree
6. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis
7. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. — General George Patton
8. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
9. A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonaparte
10. You don’t need a title to be a leader. –Multiple Attributions
11. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell
12. My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. —General Montgomery
13. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker
14. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead
15. The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. —Sir Winston Churchill
16. The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. —Warren Bennis
17. To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux
18. He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle
19. Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. —Brian Tracy
20. I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader
21. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. —Peter Drucker
22. Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. —Publilius Syrus
23. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together. —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
24. The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. —Theodore Roosevelt
25. Leadership is influence. —John C. Maxwell
26. You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case. —Ken Kesey
27. When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out. —Napoleon Bonaparte
28. Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. —Harry S. Truman
29. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. —John Maxwell
30. So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work. —Peter Drucker
31. The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. —Tony Blair
32. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. —Reverend Theodore Hesburgh
33. The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard
34. A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible. —Polybius
35. A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. —John Maxwell
36. A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. —Rosalynn Carter
37. The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly. —Jim Rohn
38. Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. —Sam Walton
39. A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur
40. A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward. —Ovid
41. No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it. —Andrew Carnegie
42. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —General Dwight Eisenhower
43. The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist. —Eric Hoffer
44. Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. —Brian Tracy
45. A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. —Max Lucado
46. Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. —General George Patton
47. As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates
48. All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership. —John Kenneth Galbraith
49. Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. —Eleanor Roosevelt
50. Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership. —Donald Rumsfeld
51. Education is the mother of leadership. —Wendell Willkie
52. Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Stephen Covey
53. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. —General Colin Powell
54. Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths. —John Zenger
55. He who has great power should use it lightly. —Seneca
56. He who has learned how to obey will know how to command. —Solon
57. I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be. —Warren Bennis
58. I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody. —Herbert Swope
59. If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. —Maya Angelou
60. If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing. —Benjamin Franklin
61. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
62. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. —Thomas Jefferson
63. It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. —Latin Proverb
64. It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. —Nelson Mandela
65. Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead. —Ross Perot
66. Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. —Vince Lombardi
67. Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. —John C. Maxwell
68. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy
69. Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. —Jesse Jackson
70. Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise. —Woodrow Wilson
71. Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. —Norman Schwarzkopf
72. Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. —Colin Powell
73. Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts. —Erskine Bowles
74. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. —Bill Bradley
75. Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. —Tom Peters
76. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. —Stephen Covey
77. Never give an order that can’t be obeyed. —General Douglas MacArthur
78. No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. —Abraham Lincoln
79. What you do has far greater impact than what you say. —Stephen Covey
80. Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. —Chinese Proverb
81. One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. —Arnold Glasow
82. The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on. —Walter Lippman
83. The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision. —Ken Blanchard
84. The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. —Harvey Firestone
85. To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. —Friedrich Nietzsche
86. To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way. —Pat Riley
87. True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well. —Bill Owens
88. We live in a society obsessed with public opinion. But leadership has never been about popularity. —Marco Rubio
89. Whatever you are, be a good one. —Abraham Lincoln
90. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. —Eleanor Roosevelt
91. A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops. —John J Pershing
92. A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. —John Maxwell
93. There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage. —Fuchan Yuan
94. I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t. —Dee Dee Myers
95. A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men. —Stephen King
96. My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. –Unknown
97. A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. –George Patton
98. The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. –Dwight Eisenhower
99. You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership. –Dwight Eisenhower
100. Earn your leadership every day. –Michael Jordan
If you are committed to becoming a Leader, or in the process of developing your leadership skills, you have to stop the I, I, I speech.
Let me say this in the simplest way possible… (pausing for suspense purpose)… Leadership isn’t about you!
Matter of fact, Leadership is about developing people around you, help them overcome their self imposed boundaries and stand by their side as they step out of their comfort zone.
With that said, if you are willing to be the catalyst in the growth of people around you, then you’ll have to adequate your speech as well as your attitude to serve that intent.
help them realize where they are – coaching would be the best method. The purpose is to make them realize what their current situation is, are they living up to their potential? Have they achieved their goals? Are they living the life they planned?
point out the abilities and potential you see in them – most people stop evolving or investing in their own growth because they stop believing in themselves, because they lose vision or because they become conformed with their situation. They are prisoners of their comfort zone, and sometimes all it takes to get them back on track, all it takes to set them free is to let them see themselves through the eyes of someone else, through eyes that see them as they once saw themselves: full of potential, a diamond in the rough.
and then gently and patiently build a vision – you’re helping them getting from point “a”… out of point “a”! It’s not up to you to tell if it’s point “b”, “c”, “d” or “e”! They’ll be the ones setting the goals, otherwise they won’t buy in to them, you just have to help them realize that they can go a long way if they just dare take the first step.
Now, considering that the process is about them, how could it help if your speech was a I, I, I speech?
How would you be helping by saying “I would do this”, “I did this and that”, “I could”, “I am”, “I used to”. Wouldn’t that transmit the idea that people should be like you? Wouldn’t that be stilling the stage, and make leadership about you instead of the person you’re talking to? What if the person you’re trying to help doesn’t share your ideals or your way of living? Don’t you think this kind of speech would turn away people instead of getting them involved in the coaching session?
You have to put your ego aside so there is plenty of room for others to grow! And who knows, maybe, just maybe, without so much I, I, I, there is much more You, You, You…
It’s a common mistake, for employees, to assume that a person in a management position is a Leader. A not so common mistake is for the manager to assume that he is a Leader just for being on top of the reporting structure. Most managers I know are conscious of their skills, and if they know they aren’t specially gifted to lead, they leave it to other staff members or they hire the right people for that particular job.
But unfortunately, not all managers grasp the importance of leadership in the workplace and therefore some decide to play the occasional leader. It’s like a moment of inspiration, and before anyone can stop them… BAM!!! Ladies and Gentleman, brace yourselves, it’s The Amazing Leadership Magician!
From that moment on all you see is an illusion! They’ll say they’re leading, but you won’t see it. They’ll trick you into believing that they care, when in fact they don’t. They’ll promise you an auspicious future, but they’ll make it disappear. They’ll listen to your complaints and suggestions, not to see them through but to build their illusion on them.
And then, in a heartbeat, it’s over! The magic disappears. They get bored, they forget why they even tried, and they realize that they don’t have the time to build on that so-called “Leadership”. And why would they? After all they’re the Managers, they can boss everybody around! Why would they have the need to create culture, or develop the employees? Why? When employees well know that they better do as the Manager say, or else… And the realization of this power is enough to boost their egos, and so… the magician is subdued.
The apparition of the Leadership Magician is not without consequence. Soon after de disappearance, the employees see through the illusions, and the realization of that is disappointing and hurtful in many circumstances. Most of the times employee motivation and productivity is compromised.
And then it’s up to the real leaders, within the ranks, to (re)start their work from scratch. They have to once again build employee morale, to get them involved and to implement culture in the workplace. And they have to do it fast, because if the Manager senses that morale is low with the employees they’ll be the ones suffering the consequences…
And without even realizing it, this Magicians are standing in the way of growing their employees as well as their company, as they are constantly throwing them back to the starting point, limiting their evolution.
But you never know when they’ll feel inspired again and compelled to solve those issues, and then it’s… Ladies and Gentleman, The Leadership Magician is back!…
Back in the good old days, if you were in a position of authority, you could just announce what needed to be done and assume it would be carried out. But times have changed.
As companies expand and become more complex, no matter what organizational structure is in place, people must work with each other across reporting lines. It doesn’t work to say, “Do it because I told you so.”
But were the good old days really so good? Hierarchical systems replicate parent–child relationships and create dependency. Worse yet, authority-based systems are a breeding ground for abuse of power and are prone to creating oppressive work environments.
Leading without relying on authority is a higher evolutionary skill. It supports the development of adult-adult relationships based on mutual objectives. And it helps create work environments grounded in respect for human dignity.
8 Ways to Influence Without Relying on Authority
Character – Your own character is your greatest source of influence. Do you lead by example and follow through on your commitments? Are you respectful, authentic and trustworthy? People will believe you are motivated by the common good and not personal gain.
Expertise – Do you have content knowledge and experience? Are you a thought leader? Do you understand the process needed to accomplish the objective? You can influence by providing a clear logic, an explanation of the benefit, and reassurance that it is the right course of action.
Information – Do you have access to valuable information? You can influence by providing data and proof.
Connectedness – Do you form close relationships with people? Do they enjoy working with you? Do you engender loyalty? You can influence by appealing to shared values and your emotional connection.
Social intelligence – Do you offer insight into interpersonal issues that interfere with work and help facilitate resolution of issues? People trust that you’ll be able to help them work together effectively.
Network – Do you put the right people in touch with each other? Can you garner the endorsements of credible people? People will trust that you will get the support needed.
Collaboration – Do you seek win-win solutions, unify coalitions and build community? People will trust that you can help them become a high performing team that accomplishes its objectives.
Funding – Do you have access to financial support? If financial resources are required, it’s easier to influence when you can ensure adequate funding is available.
Build your muscles before you need them.
Too often we rely on one source of influence, and when it doesn’t work, there is no fall-back. If you always influence through the logic of expertise, you will have little impact on those who are more open to an appeal from someone they have a personal connection with.
When you develop more sources of influence, you have more options; and you have the opportunity to step back and consider which is the best source of influence for a particular situation.
3 Guidelines for Influencing Without Authority
Put it out there. Communicate clearly what you want. First be clear with yourself because if you’re not, it will be difficult to be clear with others. Then make sure you’ve been understood correctly.
Be transparent. No hidden agendas. Don’t withhold information. Or if you do need to withhold information, provide an explanation of why. People respect a sincere attempt at influence and resent being manipulated.
Do your best AND be willing to let go. If an appeal to logic doesn’t work, try a different source of influence such as an appeal to values, building a credible network of support, or obtaining financial resources. However, there’s a difference between influencing and driving an agenda. If you are too attached, you are less likely to be heard. At some point, if you have done your best and have not been successful, you need to let it go.
There are no guarantees.
When we move away from a control-base approach to leadership, not all efforts to influence will be successful. Failing to influence does not mean you made a mistake. It might have been a good idea but the wrong time. Or it might have been the wrong idea – maybe you had a blind spot or didn’t see a bigger picture.
When we shift from authority-based to influence-based leadership, we have to accept that we are not always in control. However, the reality is that we actually never were.
#1 Confidence – Are you confident or arrogant? The difference is “I am the reason we succeed,” vs. “You all are the reason we succeed.” What’s the source of your confidence? You or the vision and plan? You or the people you lead? Arrogance shouts “I and me.” Confidence shouts “you and us.” Carry yourself with confidence and you can influence people. Lead with arrogance and you turn people off.
#2 Confrontation – Do you struggle confronting the people you lead with the brutal truth. The truth is, every leader has struggled with “we need to have a tough conversation.” Why? Because it gets personal. Keep the conversation about the vision, the plan and making the team better. Caring leaders confront. Pleasing people won’t get results. All it does is make the conversation easier. Coach, guide and direct. Learn to have the crucial conversations. Don’t avoid the confrontations. Embrace them and lead.
#3 Jealousy – Are you jealous of other leaders? Do you envy their success? Why not celebrate it? Don’t worry about who gets credit. Be thankful there is credit to get. Be thankful other leaders are leading. Jealousy leads to pride. Pride sneaks up on you. You validate yourself with pride. Jealousy feeds your pride. You are better. Just as good. Smarter. Does any of that matter? Does jealousy help you influence?
#4 Failure – Face it, you will fail if you are leading. It’s not if but when and how many times. Are you afraid to move forward because you fear failure? Does it hold you back? Why? Your risk is not growing or learning. You will make bad decisions. Admit them and move on. If you are not failing, you are not leading. Everything doesn’t always work out like you planned. The answer isn’t always in your favor. The project doesn’t always succeed. The idea doesn’t always work. Customers don’t always agree with your value proposition. Get back up. Dust yourself off. Try something else. Fail again.
#5 Insecurity – Do you think everyone is smarter? Do you feel inadequate and incompetent? Don’t. You’re not alone. Everyone has bitten off more than they can chew at various times. You don’t need to be insecure. Don’t worry about what others are saying. They are the few. Focus on the many. The people you lead. The few don’t represent everyone. They represent very few. Your identity is not in the few. It’s in your character, values and principles. It doesn’t matter if you lead 1 or a 100. You are smart enough. You are adequate because you choose to lead and make a difference. Don’t worry about the few.
You are not alone in these struggles. All leaders deal with one or all of them at different times. Embrace them. Be aware of them. Recognize when they show up.
They are opportunities.
Struggle a little every day. Get better. You are not alone. Ignore the few.
What other leadership struggles would you add to the list?