Born Leader Poor Manager


The world and ongoing discussion of leadership and management is still very alive today. This could be due to different factors whether it be new technology or changes in society and business models; but many still have a misconception of the difference and how they interact with each other, and which one is more important.

Instead of talking about the organization or business, what about breaking it down to the individual level. Are you a born leader? What’s the difference between a leader and manager and which is more important and how can it benefit?

Let me start by saying that I do not think leaders are born with the magical trait that, when they grow up they will become heroic leaders so many will want to emulate and follow, but rather the opposite.

When do you become leaders?

There are no “born leaders” there are trained leaders. This starts as early as infancy in a home and can grow throughout the life span of an individual. A child may have characteristic traits of leadership, but were they really born with a special leadership way of life or was it learned and molded overtime?

Think about when you were little on the playground while you and your friends were playing tag, who set the rules? Was it you?  Which one or your friends was a captain to pick a team for playing the sports you played, or was it you too. Which child’s voice was heard over all the others. Leadership starts as early as a childhood, since this is when kids start to find their place and is introduced into the reality of life.

Another area that can show introductory leadership traits are children within a home surrounded by other siblings. Do you see a “rank structure” or hierarchy by default? The older sibling will have different rules to follow and sometimes even help with leading the family...my oldest daughter for example, we put a good amount of responsibility on to help with leading and managing our younger children through basic cleanup of rooms, like the play room or bedrooms. Helping in directing and organizing what goes where as well as having the little ones look up to her for guidance and leadership.

This is when leadership can start in developing our young people, but these are learned behaviors. However, this is not to say that as children grow they do not have personality traits that can help in leading them to become great leaders.

What’s the difference between leadership and management?

Growing in a position of authority, I have seen this question in every way and angle. I will say that early in my career I couldn’t tell the difference. I always thought leadership was the leader in charge telling me what to do, which that person may be a leader by the position, but not good leadership traits.

Leadership is a choice not a rank, leadership is not your authoritative position, but rather, the action of one who is being followed.

Management is a job that required a skill set. By definition management is a “process of dealing with or controlling things or people”.  With so many other aspects of what we need to do to accomplish a goal, a manager the role is to organize and execute a required plan to meet and reach the end results, it’s a JOB, a position.

Is this what a leader does? Control people or things, or do leaders allow for free thinking and vision.
Managers could have authority but may not be followed. Where are people with no authority may be great leaders…

Leaders are individuals who look after the ones on the left and right of themselves creating a culture of trust and loyalty, by taking the first step and taking on the risk before anyone else.

Which is more important?

This question may be impossible to answer because of the opinionated responses. There is no perfect answer because we all know leaders that cannot manage and managers that cannot lead.
A question to ponder:

Have you ever heard the statement we are going to manage people to success? or is it we are going to lead people to success?

The greatest difficulty of which is more important is that they go hand and hand. Think about it this way, as a solid leader, if you have poor management skills there may be people that will surround you, lift you and possibly carry you because they want to see you succeed, which in turn shows that you may have poor management traits. Unfortunately, as a bad manager you may not receive the same type of loyalty and dare I say love from the people you surround yourself with, and the rally would be nonexistent to accomplish the feat.

As a manager you may be able to coordinate and execute a strategic plan and out this into motion while you then allow the leaders to walk the team through to the end result making all involved successful. This is when you really know who’s on your side and whether or not you were there supporting them along the way.

All in all, there are positive parts, and downfalls on both sides, one of which is poor character. Poor character can destroy any leader or manger. From my experience creates distrust and tension. Things that nurture poor culture are what many do not want to be part of, and in turn could make that team not want to give 110% when called upon, regardless of the position you are in.

Leadership and management will continue to be one of those areas that need constant development to grow and become stronger. These skills and traits are what makes us good at what we do, as a leader you, the individual, are what people look up to. As a manager, your skill set, will set you apart from success or failure. Instead of looking at which is better, why not grow as a whole in both, and become the next generations great leader.

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