Friday, June 28, 2019

Lean Quote: You Manage Things; You Lead People

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"You manage things; you lead people." — Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

While a leader can be a manager, not every manager is a leader. The distinction between being a manager and being a leader may seem small, but it means the world to the people who work for you.

A leader coach’s employees, depends on goodwill, generates enthusiasm, says “we”, fixes the breakdown, shows how it is done, develops people, gives credit, asks questions, and says “let’s go”.

A manager drives employees, depends on authority, inspires fear (the beatings will continue until morale improves…), says “I”, places blame for any breakdown, knows how it is done, uses people, takes credit, commands and says “go”.

The definition of leadership is “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” That is why it is my belief that if you are a good leader for your organization, then you really don’t need to worry about being The Manager. You will gain more influence and have more positive impact on your organization if your team feels valued and respected and has an understanding of where you expect them to be headed.

Great leaders don’t subscribe to a “Do-It-For-You” methodology of talent management, rather they lead, mentor, coach and develop team members by getting them to buy-into a “Do-It-Yourself” work ethic. Great leaders view each interaction, question or even conflict as a coaching opportunity. Don’t answer questions or solve problems just because you can, rather teach your employees how to do it for themselves. If you make it a habit of solving problems for people, you simply teach them to come to you for solutions at the first sign of a challenge.

Nobody wants a manager, but everybody wants a leader.


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