Thursday, October 02, 2008

You Don't Need a Title to Be A Leader: Leadership Lessons from a Book

I’ve been reading a book entitled “You Don’t Need a TITLE to Be a Leader,” written by Mark Sanborn. It’s an engaging book that reads easy and fast. Besides the fact that Mark shares some very inspiring tales of “untitled leaders”, the amazing thing I’ve found is that Mark’s take on leadership seems to be in line with my view on leadership. So without just listing out all the similarities between our views on leadership, I’m instead going to spend the next several posts pulling out the real value points of the book and sharing them with all of you.

Today’s point: The difference between leaders and managers!

Mark states that “As all leaders know, untitled or not, leadership is power with people, not power over people.” Mark then goes on to list out the differences between managing others and leading others:

So, are you a manager or a leader? I must admit that the last couple months have found me more worried about managing my team than actually being a true leader to my team. I think this can happen very easily for many, as they try to “get more performance” from their employees. The problem is that as they “manage” they are using more of a positional power to influence their subordinates. Their followers are being obedient and therefore performing just enough, but obedience alone won’t allow them to reach that next level. “Leading” subordinates (as opposed to just managing them) relies more on a referent power base, one that garners respect and admiration for the leader. “Leading” helps empower followers to truly buy in to the leader’s vision and direction. It creates an atmosphere of eagerness and passion, and encourages followers to kick it up a notch.

What are your thoughts? Should a supervisor/director/C-level executive be a manager or a leader? Or, are there times where even good leaders need to pull out their “manager mentality?”


Mark Sanborn said...

Thanks for mentioning my work in your post, Eric. I've always believed that good management skills were a subset of good leadership skills. I don't believe, however, that all managers are necessarily leaders. Leadership requires both the aspiration and the skill set.

Keep up the good work!


Eric Peterson said...

Thanks for stopping by Mark. I've enjoyed reading your book, and I'm looking forward to reading The Fred Factor next.

I like your last line "Leadership requires both the aspiration and the skill set." It makes sense. Just aspiring to be a leader, won't make you one, unless work at developing the skillset. Thanks for the great insight.

Andrew B. Clark said...

Well said, Eric. Again... another book to add to the mix.

Leadership (my take) is a lot like parenting. Educate, motivate, guide and set goals EVERYONE should reach. Then stand back and watch them shine.

Keep Cooking!

Eric Peterson said...

Thank you Andrew....and well said! I think one of the most important pieces of your parenting analogy is the last piece: "then stand back and watch them shine."

Although all your points are important, a good leader has to let his people go at it on their own, and shine! Otherwise, the leader begins to be seen as the dreaded "micro-manager."

Dr. Delaney Kirk said...

Great timing on this post...I start teaching a MBA class on Leadership on Saturday. Looking forward to getting this book!

Robyn McMaster said...

Mark, I like the way you empower people who work in your department. Your vulnerability to show the places you still want to grow truly shows you are a Leader/Servant. [I just looked at your post with the acronym for leaders]. :-)

Eric Peterson said...

Thanks for stopping by. It's a great book. I would definitely reccommend it. I think an MBA class would benefit greatly. Many current MBA students are Y-GEN that are just starting out in their careers, and don't have the "title" yet.