Manager or Leader?

Nigel FannUncategorized0 Comments

I have been facilitating the Certified Manager program for well over ten years. Sooner or later with every single group that is in the classroom somebody asks: “which is more important; being a good leader or being a good manager?”
The simple answer is that they are both important. A well run, successful enterprise needs both good managers and good leaders to succeed and grow. Problem is, that no matter how much we talk about and emphasize the importance of developing and cultivating both qualities; only one gets done. It is far easier to go back to work and focus on the managerial aspects and put the leadership stuff aside. The reason is because managerial aspects are here and now. We are fighting to survive in the “here and now” and we get caught up in the “here and now”. Our clients are in the “here and now” and our staff are in the “here and now”. Get the point……….
Leadership stuff is about tomorrow. It is about “emotions” and we do not have time for “tomorrow” and “touchy/feely” things when the production line is down and when Bill didn’t complete his project on time; when clients are shouting and when you get home and the kids need your attention.

I know that most managers don’t change because their subordinates eventually attend my course and many will say……”My boss didn’t listen to you. He doesn’t do any of the stuff that we are covering in this training.”

I know most managers don’t change because, fundamentally, they are too lazy. It takes a fair amount of effort to change the way we manage and “lead” people. Being a manager takes a lot less effort than being a leader. “Do this” and “do that” is far less trouble than “let us explore this idea and see if we can develop it further”.

“Do it like this” is far less hassle than “how do you think would be the best way to tackle this issue?”

Having trained over 3000 thousand managers in the last 25 years I would say that less than 2% of them exhibited both good leadership and good management qualities. It is not difficult to see what I am getting at. The world is desperately short of leaders. However, it needs people who are both leaders and managers.
Enterprises, businesses, Non-governmental organizations, countries can no longer afford the luxury of employing people who do not cover both roles; being a manager as well as a leader.

It is imperative that TODAY a manager must be able to lead and a leader must be able to manage. Back in 2006 I was asked by one of the big gas companies what the difference is between a manager and a leader. I used an analogy in my answer. I said they are both ice cream. The one is chocolate flavor and the other is vanilla flavor. While many people may not agree with my analogy and even find it dumb. I believe that this analogy basically reflects the situation, as it should be. That is, that companies are not only going to expect their “Captains” to be both good leaders and good managers, but they are going to insist on it.

This means that many managers in senior positions around the world are going to get “wake-up calls” – learn the art of leadership. So maybe we will have new titles gong forward. How does “Call-Centre Captain” or “Sales Captain” sound? Ask any captain of a Boeing 777 if he would rather have the title “manger” or “Team leader”. No way. I know many pilots and they are very proud and possessive about their title. It means more than just a manager. It means more than just a leader. The same applies for a ship’s captain. They are all in immediate contact with the employees and customers. Coming face to face with staff and guests hundreds of times each day. This requires leadership and management skills. A Captain.

So all you would be “Captains” out there; how and what can you do to become what is needed in this day and age……

(The next installment will be out soon)

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