Leadership is not the sole responsibility of top company executives. Leaders are needed at every level of the organization. Although management is a leadership position, not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers.
Leadership is a mix of skills, attitude, will, and motivation. To become a leader you must want it and work on it. It requires great effort to become a leader, greater still to remain one.
Managing, on the other hand, is an assignment – a job. A manager who is not a leader manages by title only. A leader inspires people, set an example, and builds trust. A leader:
- Makes things happen.
- Is a mentor and coach.
- Is respected and followed.
- Has a clear purpose.
- Single mindedly pursues common goals, regardless of obstacles or temporary setbacks.
- Leads people to accomplish what they thought impossible, freeing them from their inhibitions and limitations.
Leaders have a vision and focus on customer satisfaction; they act without hesitation whereas a manager will focus on planning and analysis. Leaders look for simplicity; they inspire and delegate rather than apply controls and give orders. Where managers see problems, leaders search for opportunities. Leaders look for new solutions rather than blindly following existing procedures. In the midst of chaos, leaders consider the situation from various perspectives; while a managers thinking is strictly rational, looking for continuity.
Leaders do not compromise, they want the best. If they are satisfied with mediocre results, that is what they will always achieve. A good manager is a leader through personality, not position. True leaders impact their organizations, they are strong, and they attract people and receive support from peers and employees. They draw followers by their ability to communicate vision and commitment; they make their ideas tangible and create positive feelings. They are reliable and effective.