Managers vs Leaders
If you’ve never heard of Simon Sinek, pause reading for a second and go follow him now. If you have heard of him, you’re sure to agree he’s an incredibly inspiring individual. He explains in one of his videos why some people like their job and some people love their job. The reason for the outcome depends on whether they have a manager or a leader above them.
Simon went on to share a story about an experience he had at the Four Seasons Hotel. He was waiting to get coffee one day in the lobby and the barista’s name was Noah. He immediately noticed that Noah was charming, funny, and really seemed to enjoy his job. Simon was amused by Noah’s attitude towards his work and he ended up asking him if he liked his job. Noah, without skipping a beat, replied by saying he LOVES his job.
This clearly piqued Simon’s interest so he asked Noah what it is that makes him love his job. Noah said it is because of his management. Anytime they walk by, they ask Noah if there is anything he needs or what they can do to make his job better. He made sure to mention it isn’t his manager alone that will do this, it is any manager that walks by.
Noah mentioned he also works at another hotel and when the managers walk by, they either walk past him or they catch things that he is doing wrong, they can correct him, and go on with their day. This causes Noah to want to ‘stay below the radar’, get through the day, and collect his paycheck. He said only at the Four Seasons does he feel he can be himself.
Noah’s performance, attitude, and customer service, all of which or some of which we all deal with within our professional lives, is affected because of the leadership styles around him.
Simon says a frequent question he gets by leaders is “How do I get the most out of my people?”. He says this alone is a flawed question. That’s because it’s like seeing people as a towel full of water and you’re trying to get as much water out of it as possible by wringing it out and squeezing everything you can out of it. People do not function that way. He says the better question to ask is,
“How do I create an environment in which my people can work at their natural best?”.
He says the answer to that question requires an entirely different skillset which is clearly displayed in the examples of Noah’s very different work experiences.
So, what is that skillset? Simon explains in another video that there are two things he thinks that every leader needs to have– empathy and perspective. Because of a leader’s position in a company, it is easy for them to lose sight of their real job which is not about being IN charge but rather taking care of those IN OUR charge.
Managers vs Leaders
Managers are promoted to that role because of how well they knew their job at the lower level. In turn, they attempt to manage their subordinates to be as good as they themselves were in that position. This easily turns into micromanagement. In reality, they got promoted to a role that is not responsible for the job but responsible for the people who are responsible for the job. In order to fulfill this role effectively, they need to become leaders that simply hold the management title.
He says leadership is a practiced and learned role. We each have the capacity to be a leader but it doesn’t mean we all should be a leader or let alone want to be a leader at all. This is because in order to be truly effective, leadership requires self-sacrifice. He explains that when things go right, you have to give all the credit and when things go wrong, you have to take the responsibility. A couple examples are staying late to show someone what to do or giving grace to someone. So, when someone does something incorrectly, instead of yelling at them and doing it for them because you’re better at it, you just tell them ‘try again’ and help them through it.
To drive home his point about leaders and their responsibility for the people who are responsible for the job, he explains what their true priority should be. As a leader in a higher management role, your priority should not be your customer. Your priority should be the people whose priority is the customer.
So, if you’re a manager, where do you stand on the manager versus leader scale? How is your team performing? What kinds of changes would you like to see?
It may be worth your while to spend a few minutes in self-reflection and see how you can begin a new trend. Maybe it’s not in your work-life alone that you’re experiencing struggles. It could be in your personal life that maybe you need to show a little empathy and have a different perspective to get a different outcome. I think you’ll be surprised at the results you receive.
I’m wishing you the best on your journey to being a better leader. Remember to give yourself grace in the process, too. It’s important to realize that anything worthwhile takes effort and may cause a little (or a lot) of discomfort but it’s so worth it in the end!
Until next time,
Monica, Account Manager