Dave Ramsey has coined an interesting phrase:
Leaders pull, managers push
Within the framework of your life and your business, are you a leader or a manager? You can figure this out by asking yourself a simple question:
Am I the type of person who leads by serving others, and by being out in front of the pack and encouraging them to come along for a wonderful ride?
Leaders cast a vision for the future and then serve others, helping them to catch that vision and then working to equip them with the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual skills that they need to help in the accomplishment of the goals that lie ahead. They lead and draw (pull) others to their cause.
Managers, on the other hand, are at the back of the pack, constantly pushing people and struggling to overcome the stagnant or backward momentum of the group. They are only concerned with getting to the goal and are not focused on the one thing that will insure the attainment of the goal – their people.
If you really want to achieve unusual levels of success in your life and career, one of the key questions you can ask yourself is, “What kind of person do I really want to work for – a leader or a manager?” All of us want to work for leaders because they are the ones who make life, and work, fun. They are the ones who help build the kinds of businesses that provide job security and profitability. And they are the ones who are people of integrity and who care deeply about others.
If you want to start down the road to becoming a great leader, here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Get over yourself. There is no place for an ego in business. In the long run, selfish, self-centered people will ultimately fail. True leaders are among the most selfless people in the world.
- Fess up! If you’ve been a manager in the past and are truly committed to becoming a leader, come clean and admit your faults to your people. There is no shame in doing this because they already know all of your faults. The keys here are to commit to making the needed changes in your life, asking your people for their help, and then being will to listen to their feedback. If you do this, your people will help you and they will love you for embracing them and including them in the process.
- Communication with your team is critical for success. Be open with them about what’s going on in the business and what you are struggling with when it comes to surviving and growing your company. Include them in the problem-solving process and use their ideas for making and driving positive changes in your organization.
- Celebrate your wins. As your organization begins to move in the right direction, learn to celebrate the little victories. Give people credit for what they do and encourage them to keep the ideas coming. Note that celebrations don’t have to involve a lot of time or money. Something as simple as supplying coffee and bagels for morning break time can be a home run.
- Consider hiring a professional. If you are in a quandary about where to start but know something has to change, engage a professional coach/consultant to guide you and your people through the process of creating and executing a strategy to move you forward. If you hire the right person, the return on your investment will be many times the amount of money you will spend.
© 2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (www.optechs.com). All rights reserved.