Recently I noticed a post saying similar to this: “Managers make themselves feel important and leaders make people feel important.” There are many messages similar to this one floating around all over social media. Do you agree? It is tempting to want to believe it at face value. However, when you give it some thought, you may realize this is not only a lie, it is toxic and dangerous thinking.
In my book Viral Leadership, I make it a point to call out and confront these misleading and toxic messages. I say these messages are misleading because they are comparing bad managerial behaviors and attitudes with the behaviors of great leaders – not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.
The fact is that there are great managers and there are horrible managers, just as there are great leaders and bad ones too. After all, Hitler was a leader. So was Osama Bin Laden. Should we start bashing the concept of leadership based on their example? If we are going to make comparisons, let’s at least be fair about it.
But before we even start making comparisons, let’s be clear about one thing. Management and leadership are two sides of the same coin. To be a great leader, you must also be a great manager. What good is a leader that does not respect a budget or deadlines? On the other side of the coin, we observe that to be a great manager you must also show great leadership skills. Managers who can’t inspire their teams won’t get far.
So why do we feel the need to give the word “manager” a bad reputation? To make ourselves feel good when we say we rather be leaders? Imagine the damage this message causes to the image of thousands of great managers who are out there doing a fantastic job with their teams.
For this reason, I say this ridiculous comparison between the concepts of management and leadership is toxic and needs to stop. Instead, give your good managers and leaders the respect they deserve, and build up the skills of those who need improvement. And most importantly, teach them to be viral. Teach them to pass on these great skills to the rest of their teams, and build up a viral chain of performance improvement.
I also encourage you to share your stories of managers and leaders, good or bad, who may have left an impression on you and shaped you into the professional you are today. Enter your story and you’ll earn a chance to win a Free Webinar (up to 50 participants) for your team. To enter, FOLLOW THIS LINK.