One is an outstanding leader, the other a great manager. How are they different and which one is more important?
He sees himself as a coach. Ken’s mission is to help people discover hidden talents and achieve things they didn’t think were possible. He develops people. He spends a lot of time thinking about what his organization needs to achieve, the best approach to doing so, and how to develop his people to employ that approach.
Ken reads people well. He is deliberate and thoughtful (sometimes overly so) about what he says and does. He acts with utmost integrity and on the one occasion when I saw Ken catch himself not walking his talk, he suffered his own lecture and made immediate changes.
Ken coaches two children’s lacrosse teams. The players are delighted to develop skills they never knew they had. Unlike the other coaches, he does not yell at the children and doesn’t understand why anyone would do so.
Five Year Business Synopsis
Goal: Increase sales while positioning for long term growth
Approach: Develop entrepreneurial mindset. Position managers and front line folks to see themselves as running a new business funded by investors. Ask them, and have them ask themselves, whether the venture firm would continue to invest baed on their short term financial performance and longer term prospects.
People development: Identify criteria for entrepreneurial mindset. Assess each manager against these criteria. Coach/develop as needed. Invest time in people.
Results: Ken has turned even poor performers into winners. His territory exceeded revenue goals and expectations. Ken is promoted.
He is highly competitive and emits the scent of determination. In response to the question, “What is the worst thing anyone could say about you as a manager or a leader?” he responds, “That I don’t care and don’t have integrity.” He is personable and people want to follow him.
Paul has a quick sharp mind. He scans the environment, constantly. I imagine that he developed this habit and skill while playing high school football, scanning for the opening.
Paul is unclear on behalf of what he most wants to use his mind, his determination, his ability to garner followers. We talk. His purpose shows up. Here’s the bumper sticker version: “Innovation for better living.” He wants to change the way we think about, source and use energy. Think green.
Paul, like Ken, coaches children’s sports teams, but Paul wants to change the very nature of coaching. The chidlren he’s coaching are having the time of their lives. They win, but more importantly for Paul, they celebrate passing the ball to each other. He talks to the other coaches about change. Ken has a vision for improving just about everything in which he’s involved. He can’t seem to help himself. Innovate, change, improve.
Which One is Needed?
One extraordinary leader - a visionary, determined to win. People follow.
On great manager - develops the troops to make the vision a concrete reality.
The business and the vision need both.
They need each other.
Sometimes the great manager and extraordinary leader come in one package.
Sometimes, not so much.
Have both… will travel…far… successfully.