Over the past year I have learned so much about leadership and people skills from the many connections I have made on Social Media. I have chatted with people from around the world and have developed friendships that will be long-lasting. I am often humbled by the thought that my writing or chatting may make a difference for someone.
A year ago I wrote my first post. For me that post had two important facets. First it was a kind of therapy where I was able to put in writing my thoughts on what I had learned about leadership in my career. And secondly is was a way of honoring my Father who was the person who had shown me through his words and actions what people skills meant.
My goal and my biggest fear, in some ways, was that I would write from the heart because then it would be real. At the same time it would leave me the most vulnerable. Which I have learned is ok to do. What I have also learned is that there is much work still to do in bringing leadership to corporate America.
In my chats and readings there are wonderful discussions about leadership and the difference between leadership and management. I have read many different definitions and theories but for me the difference can be summed up in one word; Caring.
Managers manage for results. They have one focus and that is get the results they want to help themselves. How getting those results affects those around them is of no concern to them as long as they get the results they want. Here is an example;
I live in the Southern United States where communities rarely receive any snow and are not ready when it happens. Recently we had a snow and ice event which caused some dangerous driving conditions. A store in my company was effected heavily by this weather. The Management team at the store asked the District Manager if they could leave early to limit the danger. They were not only told they could not leave but were told that if they couldn’t stay they needed to look for new work. Please note that the State had declared a state of emergency and other retailers in the area had closed. This DM was managing for results not leading.
Leaders understand this very important rule; if you want people to care about the things that are important to you, it’s important you care about them.
Leaders also understand that people matter. That each person is a unique being with strengths and weaknesses they can bring forward and develop.
Do all Managers act like this DM, of course not, at the same time I have seen it too often. I have seen too much Management through fear an intimidation. Too many Managers focused on themselves and not on developing their team. Too many that put results in front of people instead of understanding people create results.
The one thing I believe from my heart is that if you care for the people you work with you will lead them to success. Caring is not the enemy of success it is the fuel that feeds the flame of engagement, inspiration and growth. All of which will bring you great results.
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