The corporate world is littered with managers but lacks leaders. Over the course of my career, I only had one manager who was a leader ( Joseph). He made such an impact and influenced my leadership style. It is a rare individual who excels in both managing and leading. Joseph was such an individual, and I would have worked for him in any company.
Sadly, what we often see in many workplaces is a culture where fear and intimidation is the norm. “Yes Employees” (sycophants) are rewarded and those who are confident enough to give honest feedback (realists) are punished. There are too many individuals in positions who abuse their power. This is why good employees quit jobs.
” You manage things; You lead people.” -Grace Hopper
Joseph was an inspirational leader. He modeled humility, authenticity, integrity and always made time for employees. Inspirational leaders are capable of taking an organization and people to new heights. Joseph did not rely on his title or position but on influence and inspiration. He could get employees to complete tasks without wielding his authority. He had our loyalty and full support. Words such as ‘Good work team, you are the best”, “I trust your judgment,” “Well done” were at the top of his dictionary. Team spirit was high during his reign. He made everyone feel valued and appreciated. Great Leadership is about empowering people to give and be their very best.
Employees yearn for managers who are leaders; Managers who possess high emotional intelligence and will put people first. Many managers are focused on climbing the corporate ladder and achieving goals, no matter what the cost to employees. Great leaders are concerned about getting the job done as well as the well-being of those under their care. They are interested in the growth and development of their employees.
” If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Training, coaching and mentoring are important aspects of leadership and can sometimes be overlooked. True leaders willingly share their knowledge and are not intimidated by the success of others. To be a great developer of people, you must embody humility because taking people to their full potential, may mean they will eventually pass you by. Leading with humility means focusing on others and practicing servant leadership. True leaders always aim to serve rather than be served.
Managers are forgotten but true leaders live on in the hearts and minds of followers. Joseph passed on 5 years ago, but I can still remember him and the legacy he left behind. He truly cared about his employees, but sadly this didn’t sit well with top management and he was transferred from our department.
The greatest legacy a leader can leave is having developed other leaders. Managers, please use the human-to-human approach when dealing with employees. It’s people you are dealing with, not just a statistic on a graph. Get to know your people, meet them where they are and be flexible. If you want to leave a legacy, invest in people.