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Defining characteristics to take GREAT Managers to be GREAT Leaders

Recently , I was asked the question “what is the difference between management and leadership”. This question got me thinking a lot about how I need to hone in on big picture leadership.Leadership

I believe, the character traits that best define a leader are INTUITION, INTENTIONALITY and the ABILITY TO CAST A SHARED VISION

To define the difference between management and leadership I best like Peter Drucker’s definition of leadership with my own twist: Management is doing  things right; leadership is doing the right things, right?

  1. We have all heard the saying “Practice makes perfect”, but I refuse to teach this to my children. In fact practicing the wrong thing leads to perfection of the wrong behavior. More accurately, Perfect practice makes perfect. In order to lead others towards desired results the right activity and action must be reinforced. I believe a great leader varies from a great manager because of the intuitive ability to know what should be the focal point of action. This takes great discernment ability and a big picture vision. I believe this INTUITIVE nature is the foundational element of a great leader.
  2. Once the leader has the ability to know what the right things are to focus on they must be INTENTIONAL. The right things will only get done if there is focus on that behavior. Great Leaders are able to define systems, behaviors and metrics to ensure focus. I know this seems obvious , but many managers simply rally up their troops, gain insight to betterment, but then never implement. All the work put in to gain direction is wasted if not acted upon; therefore, leaders follow through and intentionally sustain the doing of the right things
  3. I finish the great Drucker quote with a question: “right?”  I do so Intentionally to show the importance of having a SHARED VISION. The reality is when a Leader shows great intuition to focus on the right things and then intentionality to ensure those things are focused upon then the team must come around that vision and share it. A vision casted and dictated from a manager is not powerful, it is merely instruction. This mentality can work and lead to results, but in order for those results to be sustained, the vision must be shared by the others working towards the goals. In order to cast a shared vision a leader must be selfless to let others chime in and contribute to the vision and patient to let others go through the discernment process to get to the right focus even if the leader already knows the best course of action. So, when a leader has a vision, the best way to ensure it is shared is by asking those around him or her: “is this right?”

What are other elements that define leadership over management? Please chime in and let us learn from your experience.