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February 09, 2011

Is it all Leadership?

Imagine an individual in a position of power, lets for for example a someone running a branch of a large business. Every day they make decisions about the business and direct its operations.

In their position they have:

  • Authority
  • Power
  • Control
  • Influence

But does this mean they are necesarily a leader? I would argue that no, it doesn't.
Some people discuss the ideas of management and leadership as flip sides of the same coin but I can't accept this thinking. While both have the power to control the direction of an organisation, for me a manager and leader are two different individuals.

For me, a leader inspires other to follow. A leader should not have to exert direct authority, but should be able motivate individuals to act towards a common shared vision. A leader should be able to create a situation in which people are intrinsically motivated. They do not follow the leader because they have to, but because they want to.

My view of managers on the other hand is that they do not lead, they dictate. A manager will not create a shared vision and bring people together toward a common goal. They will instruct pople of what to do and how to do it. They do not inspire people to follow them of their own accord.

Personally, I think this distinction is very important because the synergy a leader can bring about through motivation towards a shared vision will outshine the "just enough" attitude that managers would bring about in their employees.

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