You probably know someone or have heard of someone who has been called a “natural born leader.” However, someone being a “natural born leader” is a myth. The reality is that leadership is like any other skill—it can be learned, developed and mastered. But before we dive into the skills and tools that help a leader be truly effective, let’s dispel another widely spread myth: leaders and managers are the same thing.
Some of you may be asking, “Is there a difference between leading and managing?” Yes, there is. And here is what makes those two concepts distinctly different:
- You can manage things
- You can lead people
- You can rarely manage people effectively
- You can never lead things
This truth creates a genuine challenge today for most leaders. Why? Because people usually assume that as a leader, you will manage for results. Times have changed—and that means that today managing no longer works, but leading does. People want to be inspired to do their best, and which seems more inspiring to you? Someone who leads or someone who manages?
Managing is about exerting control and authority to effect change. Leadership is about affecting thinking, which leads to internal change, and then external change.
If you think you are a manager or in management, you may, in fact, be inadvertently confusing yourself and your people about what really is your role. Your role should be that of a leader. Today’s staff and independent agents are different in their demands and expectations. And because they are different, the way a leader gets results through them is different too. More than ever before, a leader needs to understand the goals, motivations, and type of support those they lead want and need, and then modifies their behavior to reflect this. The bottom line:
- Managing is a concept used to describe what you do when you achieve change through controlling someone or something.
- Leading is a concept used to describe what you do when you achieve change through influencing someone.
So now that you have a better understanding of the difference between leading and managing, let’s talk about how you can be a more effective leader. Effective leadership means you will accomplish preset objectives by the management, development, and maximization of people, things and money. To be an effective leader, we recommend you engage the following habits regularly:
1. Set a vision2. Communicate that vision to your staff and agents3. Define each person’s role in achieving the vision4. Provide empowerment5. Hold them accountable for production goals6. Track and monitor results7. Be ready to respond when issues appear
We know things happen—businesses working to achieve preset goals do run into challenges. The difference is that effective leaders know how to swiftly navigate the team through the challenge.
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