Choosing between management and leadership is about managing risk. Risk, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, basically breaks down to doing something even though you may lose it or reap a consequence.
The interpretation of consequence usually means something bad. As defined, consequence is simply a result of a particular action of situation. Whether or not the outcome is good or bad, positive or negative, depends on the action(s), the expected outcome(s), and the actual result(s).
Management. Root word: manage. Defined: to be responsible for controlling or organizing someone or something. The word responsibility itself implies one has to be in control, or be held accountable, period.
People in this role tend to be bossy, arrogant, fearful (of failure), controlling nearly to the point of interfering, and have a tendency to take credit for work others do but will also have no trouble deflecting blame when things go awry. Managers prefer situations be made easier for them to, well, manage, even if it’s unworkable or untenable for others.
Not all managers behave in such a fashion. Some take more of a leadership role even though they bear the title “manager”. The differences may be subtle but can be spotted.
Leadership. Root word: lead. Defined: to go in a particular direction or have a particular result, or to allow or cause such.
To lead doesn’t always imply a physical direction, but it can. Same with results; like consequences, these may not always be positive or negative. It depends.
Leaders can be bossy and arrogant. Leaders tend to be a type D personality, results-driven (see DISC assessment). Leaders tend to develop more empathy of those around them and situations, and may see others working toward the same goal as teammates, colleagues.
Leaders work with others to develop their knowledge and skills. Leaders want to see others become what they choose to become.
One important distinguishing aspect between managers and leaders is worth noting: managers tend to use lots of “I”, “me”, and “my/mine” words, while leaders tend to use words such as “we”, “us”, and “our/ours”.
What about empathy?
As defined, empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.
This isn’t an easy concept. Many people are too focused inward toward themselves to try and put themselves in someone else’s shoes, as the old adage goes. That doesn’t mean they’re unfeeling or uncaring; it simply means this skill needs a bit of work.
There are several studies and reports which indicate developing empathy is the single most important leadership skill. Understanding the needs of others, being aware of feelings and thoughts — it’s a transferrable soft skill worth developing and nurturing.
The time has come to choose. Management or Leadership. This is about you and the kind of person you wish to be. The kind of risk you wish to define and manage. Life is a gamble.
Management, or Leadership.
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.
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