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Manage or Lead; what is the deference?

Posted on: Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Jack welch, CEO of General Electric, is reported to have called his direct reports together one day. He issued a three word dictum- Don’t manage! Lead!” – And then promptly left the room. Many were left wondering, “What’s the difference?” That’s an important question, so it seems logical that we begin a book on leadership by examining the difference between managing and leading, between a manager and a leader.

What is a manager?

The classic definition of a manager is one who gets work done through other people. You may be planning, directing. Controlling, hiring, delegating, assigning, organizing, motivating, disciplining, or doing any number of other things manager do on a daily basis. No matter what you do, though, you are working toward a goal by helping others do their work. You are a manger if:

  1. You direct the work, rather than perform it.You have responsibilities for hiring, firing, training, and disciplining employees.

  2. You exercise authority over the quality of work and the conditions under which it is performed.

  3. You serve as a liaison between employees and upper management.

  4. You motivate employees and contribute to a culture of accomplishment.

What is a leader?

While the manager works to carry out the aims of the organization, the leader serves to create new aims, tweak old ones, or initiate new courses of action. Leadership is what Sam Walton was promoting when he encouraged people to eliminate the dumb. The leader challenges the status quo, in the most positive and diplomatic of ways, in order to continuously improve. It is the leader we turn to when we feel that good enough is not. You are leader if:

  1. You believe that, working in concert with others, you can make a difference.

  2. You create something of value that did not exist before.

  3. You exhibit positive energy.

  4. You actualize.

  5. You welcome change

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