Leadership is not about me, but it starts with me

The cost of leadership is self-interest. ~ Lt. General George Flynn – USMC

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAL-AAAAJGEwNjIzN2I0LTE2NjUtNDcxMC05ZWNhLTQxYzZhYjY4NWNhZQIf you’re a student of leadership, you already know that mangers and leaders see themselves and others differently. What determines what we see? Our paradigm, our frame of reference. What we are on the inside determines what we see on the outside.

Let me remind you, both managers and leaders are valuable to every team. We need both to truly make things happen. We should never manage people, but many low level leaders (managers/bosses) do. We manage things and processes (stuff). Stuff can’t think. So, we have to do all of the thinking. This isn’t the case when it comes to people. That’s why leading is more effective than managing when people are involved.

When we attempt to manage people, we begin to set ourselves up for a struggle. Why? Most people do not like to be managed. They like to be led. If we attempt manage people, we will not be highly effective. High impact leaders know what to manage and when to lead. Low level leaders (managers/bosses) only know how to manage. To them, they are a hammer and everything and everyone is a nail.

Let’s look at how managers and leaders view things differently.

Manager vs. Leader


Manager: Concerned with managing the work being done. Span of control is limited because of a micro-management style. Always checking up on and hovering over those doing the work. They feel others will not come through without supervision. Drags or pushes people along because they are not following willingly.

Leader: Concerned with leading and developing the people doing the work. Span of influence is significant because it is multiplied through others. Always has faith others will follow through. Comes alongside the people to help them achieve success.

Leaders continually grow in order to grow others. To do big things, a big team is needed. The size of the team is determined by the size of the leader. They need to bring together and lead people with various skills, energy levels, and agendas. They must sharpen their leadership skills to be effective.

Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches, or pounds, or college degrees, or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking. How big we think determines the size of our accomplishments. ~ David Schwartz


Manager: Sees people reporting to them as subordinates serving the manager while carrying out the mission. Wants the people to accomplish the mission without support.

Leader: Sees people reporting to them as voluntary followers to be served and supported. Wants to support the people in order to accomplish the mission.

Leaders valuing people have the primary goal of serving others. This means staying with the people, not leaving them behind while enjoying the spoils of success. The leader has to be able to get to the top of the mountain. A high level leader will not remain there enjoying the view alone. They will go back down and help others climb to success. It’s not about how far they can advance themselves, but how far they can advance others.

You don’t help others because of who they are, and how they can repay you.  You should help them because it gives you an opportunity to do something incredible with all that you’ve learned and all you’ve become. ~ Tim Sanders

Want to read more? I have 15 more Manager vs Leader perspectives. To read the other 15 plus some additional leadership content, click here now for a FREE download of the entire leadership principle-packed Chapter 11, “Get Out of the Way and Lead” from the first book in my Demystifying Leadership Series: Defining InfluenceIn this nearly 20 page chapter, I share about:

  • Managing vs Leading
  • Scarcity vs Abundance
  • Formal Authority vs Moral Authority
  • The 5 Types of Leaders
  • Compare/Contrast 17 Manager vs Leader Perspectives

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Make it happen!