Leading vs. Managing

There is a difference between management and leadership. Managers try to maintain the status quo, while leaders try to break through barriers. Manager’s say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Leaders say “when is it going to break, or how can we make it better.” Managers try and make themselves feel important, while leaders make others feel important.

Leaders need to help others succeed. People will succeed, if we make them feel capable and we allow them to make choices. Here are two ways that leaders can help others grow.

1. Make others feel capable

Leaders should be asking the people that work with them two questions:

  1. What are you working on this week?
  2. How can I help you?

The first question may seem managerial, but when combined with the second question, it becomes much different. Leaders avoid micromanagement. They free their employees to work within their strength zone. Rather than forcing them to get work done a certain way, leaders encourage and guide and support. If the people that work for you don’t feel capable, they will not deliver.

2. Allow your employees to have choices.

Workers that are totally engaged make the following two statements:

  1. At work I clearly understand what’s expected of me
  2. Everyday at work I get to do something that I love.

Studies of creativity suggest that the biggest single variable of whether or not employees will be creative is whether they perceive they have permission. When innovation and good thinking are openly encouraged and rewarded, then people see that they have permission to be creative. Are you clearly explaining your vision for your business and do you allow your employees to do something that they love?

When the people that work with you have choice, they will feel supported and deliver better results. We all remember the movie Office Space, where Peter only succeeded when he freed himself from the seven bosses he had and quickly rose through the ranks of the company. As leaders it is important to support people by making them feel capable and giving them choices. Without this, your business will not grow to its potential.

Leading Through Service



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