Once More Around the Leadagers’ Mulberry Bush

Leadership is a term for a “role” that one seeks or is thrown into (or back-doors into), and is brought into play when one must influence/guide/impact others. Management refers to the “job” of having responsibility for bringing about specific outcomes or overseeing certain activities. You can be a leader without management responsibilities, which is called a figurehead. If you have no other person within your span of influence (let’s say you’re operating a street-cart) then you can manage things without being a leader.

If you have the job of “manager” which includes supervision of others, then you are expected to show some iota of leadership skills, as it will be “on you” to get the group to pull together (without breaking apart) and to accomplish the tasks set forth. There are many good managers who are bad leaders and many (short-lived) acceptable leaders who are bad managers.

It is important to make a distinction between the two for illustrative purposes and instruction. Even though common belief holds that they are conjoined twins, they are in fact dizygotic twins. The same mother, but difficult and different skill sets.

It does not matter if you are a leader who manages or a manager who leads. In the world of work, nobody will truly trust or willingly follow you until you prove that you know what you are talking about. The only real way out of this is by going through it. The often overlooked fact (by the uninitiated) is that on any job, you will have to create a “trading currency.” You will be tested to see what you can handle (by the principal player’s reckoning, not yours). This is also referred to as paying your dues, earning your stripes, or street cred.

The developmental benchmarks (or acumen) you should focus on are the equivalent of possessing a strong right and left arm, a quick left and right brain, and effective leadership (soft) and management (hard) skills. The more you utilize all of your resources, the easier it will be to respond to the inevitable forthcoming peaks and valleys.

Think of it this way: If you are in business with others, you are in hot pursuit of business coordination, a graceful exhibition of leadership and management (despite their differences) balancing in motion.

It is also best if you think of yourself as always being in motion toward desired outcomes. Advancing/upgrading your skills are directly linked to improvement of career traction – out of a ditch or over a mountain.

Here is the question – Are you relying strictly upon your job-granted positional authority to herd your fellows, or do you fly a flag that others wish to rally around?

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