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How to Discover Yourself – Leader or Manager?

“The difference between Managers and Leaders is the same between Ants and bees, where they both excel, work hard and needed, bees (leaders) has the ability to create honey and leave a repercussion; whether it is a blossoming flower that you admire or a sting that makes you remember that they were here”

Managers Vs. Leaders Debate:

Since the dawn of the 20th century, from Cecil Rhodes and the creation of Rhodes Scholarships, which have helped to shape notions of leadership since their creation in 1903, followed by the emerge and re-emerge of the “Traits Theories”, and the development of the “Managerial Grid Model” by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in 1964, followed by the development of the concept of “Positive Reinforcement” by B.F. Skinner that has been used by organizations such as Goodrich and 3M; there is, has and probably will be a debate about the difference and overlap of leadership and management. I believe that of course there is a difference in notions but they overlap at common points; they both excel, goal oriented, have discipline… etc.

Leadership-in my opinion-incorporates all the management skills and attitudes, however, Leadership exceeds the management by the following:

  • Leaders have their own imprints wherever they “go”..and wherever they “Leave”.
  • Leaders set and have their own agenda (Not as managers told what to do)
  • Leaders build teams.
  • Leaders inspire and unleash the potentials of others, but Managers tend to control.
  • Leaders are like Role Models; they set an example with themselves.
  • Leaders are original; they originate, Managers copy and imitate.
  • Leaders focuses on people, Managers are focused on the system.

Who am I… ?!

Hey, don’t be taken by the heading and think that I had an amnesia suddenly!

The question here relates to the Manager Vs. Leader debate. The answer of this question doesn’t come from the 360 reports, psychometric tests, DISC assessments, or your folks/friends opinions, the real and most honest answer comes from those whom you haven’t had any direct relationship with, yet, in someway you have touched/influenced/inspired them.

Four years ago (exactly on a Tuesday at 4.30 p.m. near the end of day), I was sitting on my desk finalising my day to day tasks (back then I was Project Manager/Bid Manager in the Utilities sector), minding my own business, when I found a group of my colleagues (from the 3 sectors; Utilities, Transportation and Property) coming to me and asking politely:

“Can you give some sessions after work hours in Project and Bid Management?”

I looked up at them and turned to my colleagues from the other two sectors and asked them: “Why Me?” and they replied ” we have seen your way of management, we have read your reports (most of my works is mutual between the other two sectors) and we have seen you in meetings, and we truly like your management style of dealing with your team and colleges”… Here and in this exact moment, I answered the above question, “Who am I?”… Although I was asked to help them in the management but I was asked as a person who at some level; inspired them, already accepted by them, got into them with my imprint (i.e. reports, meetings, managing my team… etc.) before knowing most of them directly; i.e. I was asked to help them to understand a management processes, but I was asked as a “leader”.

“Management is a position that is granted; leadership is a status that is earned.” ~K. Scott Derrick

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~John Quincy Adams

I have discovered that my imprints, whether it is in the form of attitudes, values/behaviors, or reports i.e. things being tangible, measured and noticed by others, have served me to take the role of a leader, however, I am sure that I have passed first through the Manager path to reach to the leader destination, which, I am comfortable with, for the time being.

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