Leadership is About Leading—Not Just Managing

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On October 30, 2016

leadership-is-about-leading-not-just-managingA quick look at Amazon.com might give you the impression that we’re facing something of a leadership crisis today. Type in “Leadership” in their search bar and you’ll instantly be presented with more than 196,500 results.

There’s a reason for that. Businesses need leadership to survive and thrive. And without leadership, your business’s chance of achieving dramatic and sustainable growth is slim to none.

So why are there so many books about how to be a leader? To often leadership seems to be synonymous with giving order, with telling people what to do, and frankly with managing people. Don’t get me wrong: clear direction is important. Good management is essential. But that’s not ultimately what leadership is about.

Leadership is about getting out in front of others with a clear and compelling vision. It’s about establishing clear goals for achieving that vision. It’s about having a clear plan (strategy) for accomplishing those goals. But above all, it’s about leading. If you’re not out in front—with people following your example—you’re not really leading.

What makes people follow you? I’ve already mentioned vision and goals, but there’s more. Are you personally committed to that vision and those goals? Do your actions confirm that you claim are your values? Are you committed enough to make the hard choices and do whatever it takes (ethically, of course) to achieve the results?

So much of a business’s success depends on what happens before you ever get to the shop floor or the boardroom, or the sales meetings. Leadership is about seeing the end goal and then figuring out what you need to do to get there—and bringing people with you. Leaders don’t achieve their goals without the support and efforts of their teams.

How’s your leadership? Are you out in front with a clear vision and concrete goals and specific plans to achieve those things? And when you look behind, is anybody following?