5 Tips To Becoming A Leader
Leadership and management are concepts that are often used interchangeably. However, the reality is that these are two completely separate ideas. It is true to say that one of the many traits a successful manager should posses is leadership, but regrettably simply being a manager doesn’t imply leadership.
Some have argued that leaders are born, but I believe Vince Lombardi was more accurate when he said, “Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”
Anyone has the potential to become a leader. But to become a leader, it is important to first understand the distinction between a manager and a leader. It goes much deeper than just perception or job function.
“Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing.”
What does this mean? Richard Pascale, author of Managing on the Edge draws the distinction between a manager who tends to do things by the book and who follows company policy, with a leader who follows their own intuition. The latter, in many cases, is often more beneficial and valued by a company.
A leader is followed. A manager rules.
People naturally follow a leader of their own free will while a manager, by position alone, must be obeyed if one wants to keep their job. By this very definition, it’s safe to say that managers have subordinates and leaders have followers. Which would you prefer to be?
Management is a function. Leadership is a relationship.
Management involves planning, budgeting, evaluating and facilitating. All essential to the daily operation of a business. Leadership involves selecting talent, motivating people, coaching and building trusting relationships. Leadership, is not a function, it is simply who we are.
If you go into any bookstore or Google the Internet, you will find thousands of books and articles on how to become an effective leader. There is no question that advice abounds on what makes a great leader. However, there are a few common themes that may assist you in your progressions from manager to leader.
1. Have a plan
Leaders are proactive. They do not wait until things go wrong or enter a critical period where their only available option is to react. Leaders identify potential problem areas and prepare solutions before the issue becomes an issue.
2. Create a vision
Vision provides us with a course, a direction in which to go. There is no use in planning for your business if you do not know where you are heading. Once you have developed your vision, share it with others. By sharing your vision with others, it helps you to refine and focus it. You strengthen your own belief in its power. Others will also begin to see you as a person who can “achieve great things” for the company.
3. Take Charge
You have the plan and the vision. Now, it is time to take action. You may have developed a specific plan to improve some aspect of business, or maybe you are being forced to deal with a crisis situation. Either way, you have been afforded the opportunity to take action while being perceived as a leader… a “doer”. By stepping up to the plate with a plan, others will see you as the one capable of making decisions and of taking effective action to get the job done.
4. Lead by Example
Think of the people you admire most in your life. Why do you admire them? Chances are it is because of the things they have done in their lives. The actions they have taken. It was those very actions that inspired you. If you want to become a leader, you have to act in ways that support your vision while allowing you to remain true to yourself.
Also remember the distinction between managing and leading. Businessman and presidential hopeful, Ross Perot summed it up best. You don’t manage people. If you want to manage something, manage your inventory, your checkbook, or yourself. You don’t manage people. You lead them.
5. Reach the goal
This is related to the theme explored above. Leadership is not a goal. Leadership provides others with a way in which to reach a goal. This is an important distinction. As a leader, it isn’t about reaching your own individual goals, but about helping others to identify their potential and to work toward achieving their own needs and goals.
It takes time and commitment to become an effective leader. Being a leader may not come naturally to you, but it can, if you are willing to expend the necessary effort. If you are willing to not only become an effective manager, but also a leader, you are sure to be amply rewarded both personally and professionally.
Tom Perkins has a degree in Accounting, is certified as a personal trainer, and primarily functions as a business development coach.Tom works with personal training departments, fitness professionals, management of health clubs, and fitness product and sports nutrition companies in the areas of sales, marketing, and promotion; operations and administration, and staffing and human resource management. Tom has 6 startups in 15 years under his belt and over 20 years of working with the fitness industry leading companies to profitability through Fitness Industry Solutions.