Making the Big Leap from Manager to Leader

For some time now I have been presenting various messages to help new, first time managers make a successful move into the role of management.

Now it is time to begin the transition from management to leadership.


First, let me recap a few key principles. One of the best explanations of the difference between management and leadership is this:

[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]Management is about process. Leadership is about people.[/shareable]

You see, management can take a team of workers and accomplish a series of business goals. For sure, you can apply pure management skills to map out project plans, set goals, set quotas, establish metrics, build hierarchies, write reports, determine measurable results, so on and so on.

The best business schools all teach the core fundamentals about planning, budgeting, analysis, execution, and delivery. Perhaps they even added LEAN, Six Sigma (Motorola), TQM (Deming), and other notable management theory practices.

On the other hand, leadership inspires people. Leadership is the stuff that spawns remarkable stories about how people overcome great odds to achieve even greater things. With leadership, we get historic events like:

  • “Remember the Alamo”
  • D-Day
  • Martin Luther King –  “I Have a Dream”
  • Jack Welch –  G.E.
  • Steve Jobs –  Apple

True, effective leadership in the workplace, allows small, maybe nondescript teams to build amazing systems and create destiny; think the U.S. space program, the first wireless telephone, and all of the technology we enjoy today.

Leadership creates a vision to be pursued. It motivates people to go beyond themselves. It creates collaboration and a desire to be a part of a greater good. However, leadership is more than a fiery halftime speech or a series of catchy quotes and metaphors. It has substance. It can be palpable when present. It can be demoralizing when absent. Leadership makes a big difference, all the time.

We can find evidence of great leadership at all levels in our society. You do not have to become one of the history makers I mentioned to be called a leader. You won’t even have to be written about in the Wall Street Journal (maybe that’s a good thing). You can be an amazing leader right where you are, right in the job you have today.

I have been blessed to have worked with some wonderful, strong business leaders; not just leaders at work, but as people. People who made a difference in the communities where they lived and the houses of worship where they served with others.

Yes, absolutely, I believe there is a big difference between management and leadership. Over the next several posts I will be diving deeper into the ways leaders can be developed and nurtured.

You too can become more than just the manager of your department. You can become an influencer of the people around you, inspiring and motivating more positive results. You can be a LEADER!

The Permanent Reminder of a Temporary Feeling

Managers at all levels are on a stage. You stand alone and open for everyone to see. Your decisions and actions are judged by those who report to you.

15262068_sTherefore, you must be ever-mindful of a critical cause and effect relationship. I call it “the permanent reminder of a temporary feeling”. I give credit to Jimmy Buffett for first penning that phrase (great song by the way). Yet how powerful is the word picture.

There are times in life when your emotions crowd out your common sense and better judgment. Reasoning takes a back seat to the fury of the moment. You are overcome by a ‘temporary feeling’.

In your management role, you must learn how to guard against letting that feeling take over and cause a permanent reminder.

What is a permanent reminder? The list may be long. It can include:

  • Lashing out in rage
  • Name calling
  • Making a demeaning statement to someone
  • Physical harm like throwing things
  • Making knee-jerk decisions

You may think these sound extreme. I would agree, but I have seen it done.

Everything on this list causes a permanent reminder. Your action in that moment creates a sometimes indelible mark in the minds of those who witness your response.

This theme is included in many of the books about building better relationships. When you let a temporary feeling create a permanent reminder, you have a problem.

It takes a great deal of energy and effort to repair the damage.

How to guard against this?

I believe that first and foremost you must have a keen awareness of the possibility of this happening. You have to know that when things pop up at work or at home, your actions need to be carefully gauged. Whether your natural response is verbal or physical, you need to be able to put on the brake. Otherwise, those around you (who perhaps had nothing to do with the situation) may become victims of your response. That is when the permanent reminder is born.

You are not perfect. If a situation happens, do some after-action reporting for yourself. Reprocess the timeline and see when or how you may have gone off course. Use these experiences to learn.

Lastly, but of utmost importance, is the need to begin repairs if and when a situation causes damage. Be humble. Apologize with all sincerity.

One last note.

There is an upside to this cause and effect scenario. Flip it around… good feelings can create lasting and very favorable permanent reminders. If you try to make your temporary process a positive one for dealing with the various moments in life, you can build memorable reminders.

What Did You Get for Valentine’s Day?

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I was stunned to learn that over $13.2 billion, yes BILLION, gets spent on Valentine’s Day.

Between cards, candy, and roses, more than half of the population of the United States receives or gives something on this day. Wow, that is a lot of love.

16135071_sShowing someone close to you that you love them is a very tender expression. Love is one of the most powerful emotions we can demonstrate. People in all walks of life crave the need to be loved. Yet I am convinced that one of the most difficult situations for giving and receiving love involves the love we share with ourselves.

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Growing Your Business, Growing Yourself

As business owners, we are always looking for ways to grow our revenue, grow our client base, and grow our business as a whole.


But sometimes we get busy doing day-to-day tasks, and don’t have time or space for the things that are really going to move us forward. We find ourselves doing the same things over and over again, and of course, getting the same results.

Here’s the thing.

Growth Requires Change

Growing our business means doing things differently than we are doing them now.

And that means we have to be willing to change ourselves.

Consider that maybe it’s your own lack of growth that is holding your business back.

I’m not trying to point a finger. Only to shine a light that may illuminate some areas that could create growth for yourself, impacting your business as well as other areas of your life. There are three areas where change can be implemented to achieve growth.


The first place to look is your own sense of clarity about where you are going, what you are doing, and even why you are doing it.

Do you have a clear vision for what you want to achieve? Does it stir your passion?

Or have you followed a path that guided you off-course? Perhaps you are no longer connected to what you are doing or where it is taking you.

[shareable]A lack of clarity makes it very difficult to grow.[/shareable]


Courtesy 123rf.com/ Dmitriy Shironosov

Once you are clear about where you are going, you have to take steps to get there. In order to move forward, that means trying new things and taking risks.

When you try something new, there will inevitably be challenges and hurdles along the way that require problem-solving.

It often means creating new things and putting them out into the world, even just in the form of content and communications to share what you are doing.

Do you trust your own creative capacity? Your ability to express yourself, to take risks and to overcome any problems that arise?

The area of creativity is a key place to look for new ways to grow.



Growth also requires a higher level of organization. If you don’t have systems in place to support growth, you can overwhelm your structure, your technology and even yourself.

What often happens is that individuals and small businesses try to grow in just one area. But that growth stresses them out because they don’t have the systems in place to maintain it. They end up deciding they were better off being smaller and revert back to old ways.

Does this sound familiar? It’s a common pattern for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

So having organized systems in place is critical to sustaining growth.

Join The Discussion

[reminder]Which of these three areas is the most challenging for you right now? Which one may hold the answer to growing yourself and your business this year?[/reminder]

Re-posted by permission from Sarah Schwab, The Content Creation Coach, Milwaukee, WI.

Does Business Have You Chasing Your Tail?

Ever watch a cat or dog chase their tail? To be sure, it is quite humorous. The real question is when was the last time someone watched you chasing your tail?


As I reflect on various chapters of my life and as I hear friends and colleagues share various experiences from theirs, it strikes me that some of us are just as guilty of chasing our tail as our beloved four-legged friends.While cats and dogs literally chase their tails, we humans figuratively chase ours, and, as such, here are a few thoughts to consider.

  1. Are you running in tight, crazy spirals? The kind that feel fast, frenzied, and dizzying? It does not take long in that type of tail chasing to recognize you are, in fact, running in circles. So it becomes easy to identify the pattern and attempt to stop the cycle.
  2. The tougher challenge is those large, slow, looping circles that may actually lull you into believing you are gracefully gliding through the current chapter of your life. If you return to the same place and outcome multiple times, you are chasing your tail.
  3. Seldom in the animal kingdom will you see an older, wiser creature chasing its tail. In contrast, the human race is not immune to repeating old habits regardless of age. The truth is, we never really stop chasing our tail in one area or another until we finally agree to learn from past experience. Input from trusted friends and loving family can certainly help us break old habits, but each of us must come to our own understanding of the forces that drive us to chase our tail in the first place.
  4. It’s not wise to stick your hand into the middle of someone else’s frenzy while they are running at full speed. I did that once when one of my cats was so engrossed in chasing his tail that he seemed to have forgotten all other things. What I did not know was that the cat was intent on biting the catch as hard as he could once he found it. My hand substituted for the catch. Wow, that hurt. Yes, I stopped the cat and saved him from who knows what, but I paid a big price. As noble as trying to stop someone else’s frenzy may sound, there is a point at which outsiders must stay out of the way. It’s far easier to intercede and assist with helping someone stop a cycle in the early stages before the momentum builds.

Some kind of change is required to break the cycle.

Attempting to stop running in circles is to agree to change. Change a habit. Change an attitude. Change a belief.

That said, one of the toughest things about embracing change is getting stuck in the cycle of convincing ourselves that our past habits have been successful and, due to that success, there is no need for a change.

[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]In business, the market has a funny way of showing us we are foolish to NOT embrace change.[/shareable]

For many senior business execs and managers agreeing to change a business model, marketing approach, or sales delivery message is painful, almost blasphemy.

They insist on using old, stale ways to get their message across and wonder why sales have dropped or business is going to the competition. It’s change my friend. If you are one of those owners or managers who believe in operating that way, you know, saying “we’ve always done it this way”, you may just be chasing your tail.

[reminder]Share the ways you have discovered you have been chasing your tail?[/reminder]

10 Things I learned About Life and Business from a Single Mom

I was raised as the only child of a hard working single Mom. In my formative years, she taught me so much about life and business. Truthfully, I didn’t know that’s what I was learning until the day came for me to enter the business world.

Then, moment by moment, as the tests and trials of my own career began to unfold, I realized she had done an amazing job at teaching me some very profound wisdom.

Here are Her 10 Truths:

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It’s My Job….Really?

I love a good song ballad. Jimmy Buffett is one of the best story tellers in his songs. Oh sure, there are many pieces in his work that are just silly, but then there are jewels that slide by if you are not paying attention.
Courtesy 123rf.com
This one caught my ear. Jimmy takes a very important subject and makes you think. “It’s My Job” was released in 1981. It talks about the contrast that can be seen in the way people look at their jobs. Here are the words:

“It’s My Job”

In the middle of late last night I was sittin’ on a curb
I didn’t know what about but I was feeling quite disturbed
A street sweeper came whistlin’ by, he was bouncin’ every step
It seemed strange how good he felt
So I asked him while he swept

He said, “It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the rest
And that makes the day for me”

Got an uncle who owns a bank, he’s a self-made millionaire
He never had anyone to love, never had no one to care
He always seemed kind of sad to me
So I asked him why that was
And he told me it’s because, in my contract there’s a clause

That says, “It’s my job to be worried half to death
And that’s the thing people respect in me
It’s a job but without it I’d be less
Than what I expect from me”

I’ve been lazy most all of my life
Writing songs and sleeping late
Any manual labor I’ve done is purely by mistake
If street sweepers can smile then
I’ve got no right to feel upset, but sometimes I still forget

Till the lights go on and the stage is set
And the song hits home and you feel that sweat

It’s my job to be different than the rest
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the best
And that’s a tough break for me

It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the best
And that makes the day for me

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/jimmy-buffett/it-s-my-job-lyrics/#HD6yYpbLQC3YcLSX.99

I believe the contrast told in this story includes the lowly street sweeper versus the big banker. One would think the banker was happy and fulfilled while the street sweeper was discouraged and downtrodden.

Yet, the street sweeper had a remarkable happiness about his work though some would say it was a nasty, dirty job. The banker had a ‘respectable’ job, but was miserable.

I see a few lessons in this piece.

1. Who you are cannot be defined by what you do. Yes, who you really are should not be defined by what you do. The street sweeper had a very healthy sense of self. He found pride in doing his work because it was needed.

The banker let contracts define who he was going to be, and he wasn’t happy about it.

2. True happiness is not a function of the job title you hold. One of life’s greatest challenges is the ability to find happiness and encouragement despite your physical circumstances.

3. You get to choose. The funny thing about happiness is that you get to choose. In most situations I have ever encountered, my own happiness was mostly a function of what I chose to feel. In the darkest of days, I can still choose to have a happy face.

When I have success, of course it becomes easier to feel happy. However, like the banker, I might find a reason to be sad about my success. I need to choose to NOT do that.

4. It IS your job in this life to be different. I love the idea of being different. So many people struggle with that. The Bible tells us we are “uniquely and wonderfully made”. It has never made any sense to me why I would want to blend in and fit into someone else’s mold for me. NO! Be different. Make a difference!

I hope you have a reason to look at your job differently. There are so many ways we can wake up each day and make a difference in someone’s life. It should never be a function of what job you hold.

Go get ’em and make it a SUPER day!

Do You Have a Side Hustle?

36168113_sA new term has been coined that describes a very common activity among professionals and workers in all walks of life. The term is “side hustle”.

The idea behind side hustle is to have a day job that pays the bills while you are working on your dream situation. The urban dictionary describes a side hustle as:

A side job that brings in cash; something other than your main job. Maybe playing weekend gigs or life coaching.

Amy Tobin has spent a lot of time considering the future of work in the US and have spent hundreds of hours doing qualitative research with Millennials. Consider this:

  • 27 percent of GenY is self employed, and a Pew Research study says that ‘many to most’ Millennials stated a desire to start their own business. 27 % of them are currently self employed.
  • GenX is also incredibly entrepreneurial, also out of necessity.

In some regard, side hustle is no different from finding a second job. Any source of income over and above your day job is a second job.


However, people dedicated to running a true side hustle find far greater reward in the outcome of that effort. To have extra income, rather then merely succumbing to the pressures of having a second employer, side hustlers run their own shows. The hopes and dreams of what might become of the side hustle keeps you inspired and creates a new sense of freedom.

If you are still looking at the idea of starting a side hustle, I am going to do you a favor. I’ve compiled a list of common side hustle reference sites, all gathered right here for easy reference.

Hustle Success

Side Hustle Nation



GoGirl Finance

50+ Side Hustles 

The Top 68 Side Hustles: Add Some More Money to Your Life

There are so many more. Just Google the term ‘side hustle’. There are 3.4 MILLION references! You will have hours of research to keep you busy. Clearly this is a trending topic.


As with any entrepreneurial startup, there are a few key considerations to ponder to decide whether you have the stomach for such an endeavor.

1. Startups are hard. Anyone who has made an honest effort at delivering a credible product or service i.e. adding value to the world, will tell you it takes honest hard work. There is only one true way to get rich quick and that involves winning the lottery (I include inheritance as a lottery win with better odds).

2. Not everyone will be an entrepreneur. It takes a special sense of self worth to venture out and start something new. It is not for the faint of heart. The pessimists will be banking on you to fail. The introverts will not believe you can reach out to the world. Even a few well-meaning family or friends may shoot you down before you get started. This is why so many side hustles stay under wraps until momentum builds.

3. There are no overnight successes. Everyone I’ve ever met who is close to being considered an overnight success has actually worked years to make it happen. Usually the story involves numerous failed attempts to build the product or platform the right way, finding the “WOW” factor. Even Facebook started small and took a while to gain its first 1 million users.

4. It takes a special sense of work-life balance. Time management is a huge factor in side hustle. Maximizing the use of your hours before and after the day job can be tricky. It is especially hard if a spouse is not on-board with the business idea.

Ah, but for those brave souls who do venture out and endure, well, the reward is more than the cash you take home. The satisfaction and fulfillment for knowing you made it usually drives you to keep it going.

Side hustle may be the new term, but the spirit of entrepreneurship is as old as world commerce. Every great entrepreneur often started out with a side hustle. Most of the Shark Tank participants are side hustles. The list of businessmen who started in their garage (Hewlett Packard) or in their car (Ross Perot) is legend.

Want some help getting it going?

If you are just starting out to launch your first side hustle, let me share some advice. You can schedule a time with me or one of my business experts at HeadwayExec. I will schedule an introductory phone/Skype interview to hear your plans, answer questions and provide tips. You can get all this is a 45 minute session for $75.

[button href=”http://fk268.infusionsoft.com/app/orderForms/Side-Hustle-Consult” primary=”true” centered=”true” newwindow=”true”]Sign Up Here[/button]

Or just want to know more? Visit HERE.

PS – What I just offered you is not a side hustle. It’s my life’s work. I love helping new, first time business leaders and entrepreneurs. You are the future of your country. I’m here to help get you to the next level of success.

 [reminder]Have you considered starting a side hustle? Do you already have one going?[/reminder]