To be a leader – that is what many strive for. Some are natural leaders while others learn through life experience. Are you a leader if you are a manager? Possibly but not irrefutably. It is possible to be a manager and not a leader as much as it is possible to be a leader and not a manager. Furthermore, some managers have the necessary attributes to be a leader but their need to use these attributes are futile.
However, when planning to build a future, the ability to lead is vital. You must have a leader in your organisation who can inspire the workers to aid in realising the vision you have for the future. Whilst management will get you so far; leadership will establish your vision as a reality.
The importance of leadership in contemporary society
Although there is still evidence of autocratic management styles, leadership is vital. In a hyper-competitive market place that we have in modern times, many companies have clear visions and ethos which they want their subordinates to follow so that they may gain competitive advantage or make a positive impact in the world.
This is where the leader comes in. Leaders use their skills to motivate and ‘rally the troops’ into one singular unit in pursuit of goals. Many of the world’s most renowned leaders have done exactly this. They all have some, if not all, of the following traits:
• High levels of charisma and capable of inspiring those around them
• Honesty and integrity
• Can be held accountable and take responsibility for their actions and outcomes
• Empowering others to act and delegating authority
• Creativity and innovation
• Excellent decision-making skills
• Excellent Communication skills
• Commitment and passion
What separates leadership from management?
Managers ensure that the job is done, and quality standards met; leaders ensure that the company is heading in a uniform direction and are future-oriented. In this way, leadership is a much more abstract term. However, it is no less important. If you can employ people who have the characteristics of both excellent managers and leaders, then you are already on the road to success. Remember, not everybody is a naturally born leader. However, that doesn’t mean the traits of a great leader cannot be learned and assimilated. Leaders can be formed. Managers plan the goal; leaders execute it.