To Lead or to Manage: That is the Question!

There is a lot of conversation about the difference in leadership and management. And when leadership is mentioned, the work inspire usually comes up. That gives us a picture of a charming and powerful leader.

Having worked in the field of Industrial Psych, I administer needs and strengths evaluations as a part of every coaching assignment. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some managers and even some leaders are just are not able to inspire in the dictionary definition of the word. It’s not that they won’t, they can’t. And that doesn’t mean they won’t develop into good leaders. With self-awareness, and the interest in learning how to build social capital, they can inspire in their own way while being true to who they are.

I work mostly with petroleum engineers, geologists, and financial executives. 

These men and women are straightforward, friendly, and in some cases calm and methodical, and in some cases dynamic. Many don’t have an interest in the persuasive arts. They are direct and just want the job done the best and fastest way possible, yet many have succeeded in executive management where “pulling and guiding” instead of “pushing and controlling” is important. The key is willingness to develop better soft skills.

Non-persuasive leaders and managers can learn to “pull” instead of “push” if they are willing to have an authentic relationship and a true interest in the people they manage. This requires intimacy. To have intimacy with a direct report, they must know their dreams and goals, communicate clearly, often, and demonstrate a desire to help them advance. With that knowledge and a sincere interest in their employee, they can have a huge impact on the bottom line.

John Quincy Adams may have said it best. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more or become more, you are a leader.

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