As professionals get moved into management roles, there’s a natural confusion about what to do and how to do it. Moving from being an individual contributor on a team to running the team is a big leap for most of us. This is especially true in industries where people don’t train for management positions.
It is very common to see the best producer or highest performer get tapped to become the next manager should a vacancy open up. If you’re that guy, you have so much to learn about leading the team.
Let me stop right here and say to those more seasoned managers (i.e. you’ve been in the role for a while and have already been promoted more than once) hang with me for a minute. What I am about to say applies to you too. You see, those who survive their first management assignment might fall into a routine of what they think is good leadership, but you can be wrong.
It’s Not the Position
While there is definitely power in the manager’s position, that power is the worst kind to use for making yourself known and understood. Yes, you can assert the manager’s power simply by being the person named manager, but real leadership comes from other sources of power. Just because your role was defined by the business entity doesn’t make you the best manager.
You have to find other ways to lead the people who report to you. Rather than limiting this message to issues about who’s got the power or not, let’s shift and talk about influence. This is an important concept to grasp.
It has been said the simple difference between management and leadership is this:
Management is about process. Leadership is about people.
If true leadership is about people, then what you must do is to be able to influence people not manipulate them. The best leaders find ways to pull people along, not push them. Here are some key tips to remember as you work to differentiate between power and influence.
Leadership Lessons – Influence vs. Power
- Looking like a leader doesn’t make you a leader.
- Lead with the Authentic You; don’t try to be someone you’re not.
- Knowing how to perform the position does not equate to being able to lead the position.
- Power only lasts so long before there’s a revolt.
- Influence means those following are doing it by choice.
- Teachable moments are only valuable if we use them to teach.