Now before everyone gets up in arms, I’m certainly not advocating violence in any shape or form. But I do want to bring attention to a fundamental issue that, unfortunately, tends to get skated over a bit.
It’s no secret that company culture is a critical element to success in any business. It’s a huge reason for the success of companies such as Google, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines. Quality employees and valuable clients alike are attracted to a place with a vibrant, positive culture.
Great culture starts at the top. Those in executive and managerial positions have the power to set the tone for the workplace environment. It’s an enormous, far-reaching responsibility, because the environment they create will ultimately determine the quality of the employees and the business they attract. Guess that’s why they’re paid the big bucks.
There is a common denominator that all companies with great culture tend to share: they understand that there is a difference between managing and leading.
In the economy of yesterday, managers and executives were told that their job was to budget, forecast, and generally control the people working under them. That was yesterday.
In today’s business climate, as more and more companies realize the value of “people managing”, as opposed to “task managing”, managers cannot be managers, and executives cannot be executives. They must be leaders.
Unlike a manager, a leader establishes and influences the company culture, inspires and forwards the company vision. A leader knows which buttons to push and when to push them. It is a leader, not a manager, that ultimately charts the course for company success.
Internalizing the difference between acting as a manager, or conducting business as a leader, can make all the difference in the world. With this in mind, here are a few Ptex Practical Pointers to help you discover the keys to becoming a successful leader.
- Managers control. Leaders trust. – The most valuable commodity for a successful business is trust. Trust in the company culture. Trust in management. Trust in employees. Leaders know that an employee who feels trusted will, in turn, reciprocate with trust in management. The end result is a unified, productive team with a singular mindset and goal.
- Managers Talk. Leaders Listen. – Both managers and leaders have subordinates. The difference between them is that leaders create circles of influence, while their managerial counterparts create circles of power. How does that influence start? By listening. When employees know they have your ear, that their opinion is valued, they in turn will become inclined to listen and internalize the message and vision that you espouse.
- Managers count value. Leaders create it. – Perhaps the greatest difference between a manager and a leader is the ability to see and create value. Leaders facilitate long-term growth by looking look far beyond the bottom line. Instead of asking “what” and “when”, they ask “who” and “why”. Who was they key to success? Why was this project a success? They then apply the answers for the future.
The father of modern management, Peter Drucker, once said, “a manager does things right. A leader does the right thing.” Practically speaking, both managing and leading are necessary. While it’s important to carry out your assignments in a timely, professional manner, this is only one half of the equation.
Perhaps even more critical is the realization that included in the daily tasks, operations, budgets, reports, and goals are the people involved. Managing tasks and managing people require vastly different approaches, and the balance needed is particularly delicate.
Adopting this mentality is so critical, and it applies to every single industry – no exceptions. This is something I personally am very passionate about. I am, therefore in the early stages of developing a leadership event for a select group of business owners. If you’re interested, please click here.
Until then, take a good, hard look at the way you conduct your business, how your employees and coworkers interact with you, and ask yourself this question:
Are you a leader?
Onward and Upward,