We put a lot of emphasis on leadership within organizations, getting the right leader(s) in place, and thinking about effective leadership qualities. In recent years, the term “thought leadership” has become popular to describe one’s ability to get in front of trends and issues and move industries forward. We extol the virtues of visionary leadership, transformational leadership, servant leadership, and transparent leadership. I, personally, value a model of mentor leadership and try to incorporate it into my daily practice.
While great leaders might inspire people with a compelling vision, it is the manager who helps their people understand how their work fits into that vision, what will be expected of them in their roles, how they will be held accountable for their work and ensures that they have the tools and resources they need to be successful. In her wonderful book, The Making of a Manager, Julie Zhuo makes the distinction between management and leadership thusly: management is a specific role, whereas leadership “is the particular skill of being able to guide and influence other people.” (p. 34).