Why All Managers Aren’t Necessarily Leaders in the Making

I read an interesting article recently on the difference between Managers and Leaders or Management and Leadership.

It drew a few conclusions:

Leadership is not a natural by-product of career progression.

Leadership is a skill that takes time, patience and practice.

Career ladders are generally designed so that:

  • You learn a skill
  • You hone that skill
  • You become a leader (and therefore do less of the skill)

The writer concludes – and so do we that this conclusion is all wrong because leadership is a skill within itself. What we see more and more these days is people being promoted to leadership positions without necessarily having the attributes to lead. They may know their particular business area very well, they may know the company ethos very well, they may have performed managing a particular function very successfully BUT it does not make them natural leadership material.

Firstly, not all good Managers want to lead. It is important to find out what motivates the Manager. For example, if they really don’t feel that they would be motivated by building other people’s capabilities and careers and that they would not really get a ‘buzz’ out of that – are they right for that role? If the deep-seated desire to see others succeed and grow isn’t a big thing for them, if they are unwilling to take personal responsibility for their team’s efforts and are not prepared to let the kudos for success go to their team and not them – how effective a leader would they be? If what motivates others is not something that motivates them what sort of team would be built under this leader? We had an example of this in a client (a Retailer) where one of their stores was suffering from a lack of motivation amongst store staff. We took time to meet the Manager of the store and really found out what made them tick. Although this individual was an effective retail manager and technically very proficient, there was nothing in them, or in what motivated them, that showed any interest in developing other people’s careers and understanding what they wanted to get out of their work life. It simply wasn’t of interest to this Manager – a classic case of a good ‘doer’ not showing the potential to be a good leader – as a result, under this Manager, de-motivated staff will be a continuing challenge for the business unless resolved.

The fact is that the best doers will not always be the best leaders. Conversely the best leaders will not always be the best doers. The trick is in identifying the raw qualities in a Manager that can be built upon with leadership training for them to be a good leader – leadership training really does work provided the individual has the raw qualities that can be developed, including an interest in building other people’s careers or appealing to their motivators.

The skill of being a people Manager and the skill with which an individual leads are undoubtedly two separate things. We shouldn’t take the skill with which a manager leads for granted just because they have ascended to the title of “Manager”.

Do you want some help in identifying and building leaders in your business? Get in touch with us at ignite@tinderboxbusinessdevelopment.co.uk or call us on 0116 232 5231.

Why not have a look at our online learning platform provided by our sister company where you can find useful business tools, courses, articles, access to Experts and more?

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The Tinderbox Team

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