Leadership is more important now than ever before. People are stepping up into leadership roles at work and within their communities as we band together (while practicing social distancing of course) to support our colleagues, friends and neighbours.
This year That curly headed tot in the picture turns 24, and of course it makes me feel OLD. And I’m asking myself, “How on earth did that happen? How can I be the mother to an adult when I still feel like I’m finding my way?”
It makes me think that the most important leadership role we ever take on is the one we have as a parent
Just like leading in corporate life, we get a real live person to take care of without a manual, a training course or a coach to help us out.
Boundaries should never be barriers. Much has been written about what motivates and drives people.
Perhaps we can condense this all into the notion that at its simplest, what drives us is a desire to feel loved and accepted, to feel physically and emotionally safe.
Down the ages our desire to “be safe” has been reflected in where we choose to live, what we use to defend ourselves and who we choose to care about and trust.
So what does this have to do with leading others in modern corporate life?
“What’s the difference between management and leadership?”
A variation of that question (leadership versus management) is keyed into Google more than 1.2 million times a month. Leadership certainly is a hot topic.
Do people want to know the difference between leadership and simply being a manger, or are they asking how to be better at what they are doing?
Leadership steps that management must take to get better at what they do include:
So here’s a true story of one of the managers I worked with
Perhaps you could assess this manager against those leadership steps?
So what’s the big difference between leadership and management?
Every week I talk to managers who fear they might be failing the leadership test.
Every week I work with teams who feel their managers are not leaders.
Recently I read an article by John Kotter where he spent 650 words bemoaning the fact that people use the terms “manager” and “leader” interchangeably.
This really set my teeth grinding because, for me, this totally misses the point.
In real companies, in real teams, real people want real managers. That’s managers who are better leaders.
But what do they mean when they say “better leaders”? What’s missing?
@MoyraMackie asks: Do the differences between leadership and management really matter to you?
Let me start by saying that giving advice is not coaching!
How many times in a week do you get asked for advice?
If you’re half-way good at your job, I’m going to guess that the answer is “frequently”. If you’re quick to offer your advice I’m going to be blunt: you’re not helping.
I’m going to argue that most people who ask for advice are really asking for clarity and for the confidence to make a decision.
And by clarity, I don’t mean clarity about knowing what you think or what you think should happen. I mean clarity in the asker’s own mind.
Advice doesn’t give clarity or the confidence to act
These things are not in our power to bestow on others – they come from within. Clarity and confidence come when new insights emerge, motivating the asker to act from their own conviction.
How many of us are kind and compassionate towards ourselves in times of stress? Most have us have known that feeling when we’ve got a lot on our plates; challenging targets, multiple demands (often a combination of work and home) and tight deadlines.
Yet sometimes this just helps us focus; makes us resourceful, creative, efficient. We’re resilient in the face of pressure.
Sometimes it does the opposite. We feel stuck; as if we’re going to fail at something (possibly lots of things). The pressure overwhelms us. That’s when we need to be a compassionate friend to ourselves.
The impact of Control, Choices and Competence – or lack of it
I held an interactive webinar for the Get off the Hamster Wheel group on Facebook to find out what caused them stress and how they dealt with it. Reflecting on the experiences and wisdom, I asked myself what they all had in common.
This is when those three Cs seemed significant. Pressure is a form of stimulation, which we can use to help us, just as long as we think we have at least one (preferably two) of those elements.
I think that unconsciously we ask ourselves:
- Do I feel as if I’m control?
- Do I think I have choices?
- Do I believe I have the skills to complete the multiple demands being thrown at me?
Notice the role of our emotions, thoughts and beliefs