Leaders Take Risks, Managers Not so Much
I believe a true leader focuses more on making a difference than being recognized or lauded as a leader. They are capable of attracting others to their cause, and inspiring others to follow, nurturing their followers and their organizations to grow and achieve. They produce results and are valued by the people they lead.
A manager’s role is to keep the business running smoothly. A leader is expected to push an organization to grow, adapt and/or change as necessary for the mission/business. Managers are not supposed to take risks, whereas a leader must often do so. Leaders are expected to take paths that may not have been traveled before, and must be confident enough to risk failure, and be willing to try again. Leaders focus on the why, what could be, and what should be whereas managers are usually focused on maintaining status quo.
I have a slightly different view than most, but my daily motivation is emulating my dogs, who greet every morning with joy! They look at every blade of grass or bush as a brand new object (even when they have peed on it daily for years), are curious about everything, and expect wonderful things to happen.
Everything is changing so rapidly; it becomes difficult to cut through the noise and find the critical points that impact the business to focus on. Juggling customer expectations and satisfaction, employee retention and expectations, supply chain issues, and board member concerns – all of which can be very different, requires frequent context switching and a need to hone in on what really matters to the business.
C level Titles make a difference. The first difference is that a C title clearly announces that the individual in it is at the top of the organizational hierarchy, and in the case of the CEO, solely responsible for the success or failure of the organization. This brings a different type of pressure than other titles such as Director
or even President and Vice President. Other differences are primarily around expectations by others regarding behavior, influence and performance.
I have the greatest respect for Angela Merkel and Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Both leaders display(ed) strength while at the same time showing compassion, humility, effectiveness and efficiency in reaching their selected goals. And most importantly, from my perspective, they did not/do not take themselves too seriously, even in incredibly serious situations.
A successful team has diversity in thought, temperament, talent and background to provide a broad view of any issue which helps inform leader decisions, and the ability to drive a variety of initiatives to closure. There are key competencies among all companies that should be defined, and then screened for to ensure success for the company and the employee. One key competency in my organization is to be curious about everything and willing to ask questions.
My dream job used to be veterinarian. It has morphed into being a big dog foster mom focusing on rehabilitating bad behaviors and spending my days going on walks, playing games, feeding, grooming and loving them to help them find a new, forever home and then ensure success for keeping it.
I start every day expecting, and looking for, new possibilities. When I start to sink into complacency it’s time to go for a walk and view our products, our company and the world around me with a new perspective, or talk with people about their experiences. That always produces a list of challenges! //
Sarah Blouch is President/CEO, CampusParc She can be reached at email@example.com