There are many questions around leadership: What makes a great leader? Is leadership motivation or is it vision? Are leadership styles indicative to situations? Are good leaders created or born?
The questions around management are similar yet distinctively different: What makes a great manager? Do managers coach or delegate? What results does the managed need to demonstrate to prove a manager’s ability to execute efficiently? Does management training really make a difference?
All intriguing questions that often spark philosophical debates, opinions and theories of style, art and character of said titles. It comes down to the context of what is being lead or the context of what is being managed. (Teams or groups or individuals? Political, educational, familial, theological, etc.?) Once that has been distinguished then the context is decisive.
“Natural leaders are born, not made”
While this quote is quite synonymous with the “Nature vs. Nurture” debate, some people, at an early age, demonstrate characteristics congruent with natural leadership. But what is this term natural leadership? How is it defined and how is it demonstrated? Natural leadership implies that one is born with the knowledge and demonstrated ability to lead. The personality traits of being sociable, self-confident, assertive, bold and willing have often been referred to as possessing the characteristics of natural leadership.
Are natural managers born or made? Management, being a position, can be taught to some extent, but to be an effective manager an aptitude for leadership is required. The common characteristics of a manager are demonstrative knowledge and skills being a planner, provider and protector.
Not all leaders make effective managers, but an effective leader is skilled in delegation and therefore can oversee efficiency. Not all managers are natural leaders, but an effective manager inspires action for execution. It is the ability to produce inspiration and action in others that demonstrates an aptitude for leadership – natural or learned.
Having studied the psychology of leadership for the past twenty years and have engaged in many discussions, debates and forums on leadership and management with people around the globe, certain common qualities and themes believed to connect leadership and management have been observed, esp. ones that inspire action to execute and innovate.
Common Traits in both leaders and managers which inspire action, development and loyalty:
- Honoring your word and cleaning it up when you have not.
- Being responsible for your own mistakes
- Accepting apologies with acknowledgement yet followed with inquiry/coaching into what could be done differently in the future.
- Acknowledging the people around you regardless of the relationship they are to you and your world.
- Inquiring into others: their lives, interests and projects.
- Being polite and considerate
- Demonstrating emotional and academic intelligence
- Common sense judgment
- Acceptance and/or Tolerance
- Aptitude for immediate, short and long-term impact
- Emotional Stability
This list has been compiled from the collection of notes taken from the before mentioned conversations and are observations and summaries agreed upon by the members in those conversations. This list has not been distilled from any published data. Please feel free to comment and share observations made from your own conversations related to this subject.
Kris Parfitt is the Operations Manager with Lenati (http://www.lenati.com/). She’s busy wrangling their extraordinary marketing consultants while sourcing exceptional ones.”