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Managing versus Leading: What makes a Great Motivator?

There is so much to be said about Managing versus Leading and we won’t be able to cover all of it today. Suffice to say that they are two completely different things. I say manager, you think rigid person who does it “by the book”. I say leader, you think Lincoln, Washington, Ghandi! Big difference, and although it’s not that cut and dry, there are some very distinct traits and practices that will define you as one who just manages, or one who leads when it comes to your people.

What is it about great leaders that inspire people to listen to them, to follow them? There’s always an intrinsic charisma that many leaders have, but also, it’s about who they are as individuals, how they operate, and how they view their role in an organization.

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.” –Sam Walton

That quote is so true, and to truly unleash the power of your people you have to be a great leader.

Here are 7 basic differences between managing and leading:

  •  Managers develop policies and procedures. Leaders are visionaries and develop strategy.
  • Managers direct and control their people. Leaders motivate and inspire their people. 
  • Managers get people to do things. Leaders get people to want to do what needs to be done.
  • Managers give directions. Leaders pose questions.
  • Managers live in the here and now. Leaders live by the big picture.
  • Managers are project focused. Leaders are people focused.
  • Managing is doing things right. Leading is doing the right things.

Another great quote (and required reading): “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” –Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

To add to that great quote by Covey, leadership is about instinctively knowing the right questions to ask. This instinct is developed over time. Great leaders are not born as such; they become leaders by listening, learning, growing, and doing.

Leading is a relationship experience that you have with your people and your organization. Becoming a great leader requires you to constantly evaluate where you are, how you got there, where you’re going, and how you’re getting to the next level. On top of that, you truly have to have an innate desire to connect with your people and motivate them to contribute, rather than just tell them what to do.

You can’t expect to be Abraham Lincoln, but you can be Lincoln-esque, and you certainly don’t have to be the rigid “by the book” person. Being a great leader and motivator is a choice that we make. Who do you want to be?

We’ve just scratched the surface on managing and leading. Check out how Sandler can Transform Managers into Leaders.

Donna Bak

Partner & Certified Trainer

Sandler Training / Peak Sales Performance

If you'd like to learn more about Donna on LinkedIn click here:

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