Yesterday I attended a PRSSA leadership retreat at Texas State University. We discussed several topics such as ethics, recruiting, fundraising, and social media. However, the topic that made the biggest impression was that concerning leadership versus management. First, let me ask if leadership and management are the same thing? I say NO, but they aren’t mutually exclusive either. Leadership is more about character, its something you are. Its a choice, not a position. I believe that being a good leader requires management skills, but managers aren’t always good leaders. Management is more task and time oriented, while leaders are visionaries with a big picture. Leaders encourage, inspire, influence, and know when to step back and let people do their thing. They have the ability to “grow” new leaders by encouraging people’s strengths instead of improving their weaknesses. Management is more preoccupied with results and overseeing of logistics, while leaders have passion, which inspires others to follow the example. I have identified several key qualities I believe a leader should possess. I realize there are many more, but I believe these are the most important.
A leader must:
1) Be a visionary-Leaders have a vision, they understand what it takes to implement that vision and can execute it with ease. A leader perceives challenges and growth opportunities before they happen, positioning people to produce extraordinary results that make real contributions to life, their company, or their community. Henry Kissinger said, “The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they want to be.”
2) Be inspirational-Leaders must motivate people. Its not enough just to have a vision, and expect people to jump on board. A leaders enthusiasm and passion is what inspires others to follow. Attitudes and emotions are contagious. As a later you are responsible for the morale of your team. If morale starts to waiver, your team looses sight of the goal it is trying to achieve.
3) Have integrity-Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.This creates trust because the never veer from their inner values, even when it may be quicker and easier to do so. A leader how is centers around integrity is more approachable and thus more effective. Today there are many people in leadership positions that do not have integrity. The world is hungry for more leaders that display this quality. We have several examples of these leaders in the news lately.
4) Have excellent communication skills– Remember that vision I spoke of earlier? Well that vision will never be implemented if you cannot communicate it clearly to your team or staff. A leader must know how to communicate in various forms (written and verbal) with various types of people. It is this knowledge that sets excellent leaders form mediocre ones.
The world has millions of managers, but only a fraction of them are leaders. Which are you?
Written by: Maren Minchew – President