Let’s be honest. How many of you like your boss?
I’m betting maybe three of you have your hands up. (For those that do, feel lucky and stop gloating.)
We’ve grown up being told to follow rules, though the rule-dictator always changes. First, it was parents, then teachers, and ultimately bosses. People managing what we do, how we do it, even when we do it.
You know what I think?
That’s because managing people sucks — for both manager and employee.
Most of the time, bosses who suck are focused on getting their staff to obey orders — not follow their inspiration. As a result, the boss is upset at unruly or slow staff, and staff are grudgingly defiant.
In the most raw version, management is power, not influence.
On the flipside, leaders rule.
You know what I mean by leader, don’t you? Let’s not get confused. To be a leader, you don’t have to be at the top of an organization, like Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos. Anyone can be a leader.
Leaders are people who have followers — those who inspire and motivate without giving orders.
Leading means helping and guiding without an iron hand. At its very basic, leading is influence, not power.
Which are you going to be?
Whether or not you have studied for it, you are inevitably going to end up one of these two: either a manager or a leader. It’s a natural effect that takes place over time that I believe has very little to do with organizational hierarchies and boring stuff like that.
Even if you are low-level in your organization, you can be a true leader. To be fair, you can be a leader even if you have the word Manager in your title. But the essence of the leader and manager are very different. They act differently, feel differently, claim successes differently, and the list goes on.
As you advance in your career, take a moment to ponder the difference.
Do you look forward to being a manager?
Don’t get me wrong — there is a necessity to management that I won’t get into here. Management exists for a reason, but, while it is definitely important, managing isn’t for everyone.
Do you enjoy:
- sifting through numbers and finding ways to sell products consumers don’t really need?
- telling people what they can and can’t do?
- feeling in control of others?
- deciding who stays and who goes?
Or is your passion more about becoming a leader?
Helping people takes time and effort, and leading them is tricky business. It’s no coincidence there are fewer leaders than there are managers in the world. If you find yourself wondering, these questions will hopefully help.
Do you enjoy:
- showing people the importance of things?
- getting people excited about new projects?
- giving quality feedback, even when it’s to say the work was bad?
- learning from others who do their jobs amazingly?
It’s time to choose. Be the boss you wish you had.
As you can see, there’s a large space between the two kinds of people, and I know which side I’m on. Do you?
For extra points, try being both. You’ll end up having a staff and a following — a happy one, at that.