5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader?

Jennifer Hill has. Having held senior leadership positions with some top global financial institutions and in her current role as CFO for Global Banking and Global Markets with Bank of America, she’s learned a thing or two about what leadership is – and isn’t.

Jennifer recently packed many of those lessons into an enlightening five-minute kickoff keynote for my Poised for Leadership workshop in New York City.

How does she define leadership? “When I think about the qualities I admire most in leaders, three words come to mind,” she shared with thirty-five workshop participants. “They are responsibility, accountability, and decisiveness.”

Jennifer also stresses that we shouldn’t confuse leadership with management. “There is a big difference,” said Jennifer, who knows this from experience. “I have been led by some great people and I’d been micromanaged by some horrible people,” she admitted. Here are five lessons on leading, not managing, that Jennifer learned from the best leaders she has worked with.

1. Listen more and speak less.

Jennifer pointed out that being a good listener and hearing the thoughts and inspirations of others can help you, even when you’re the one in charge. And, she added “People feel good when they feel heard.”

2. Consensus is good but… direction and decisiveness create action.

Leading by consensus will rally a team around a common goal, but according to Jennifer, that alone is not enough to be a leader and create change. “Consensus is good but direction and decisiveness create action,” she emphasized. “You must guide consensus.”

3. Anyone can identify a problem. A leader is part of the solution.

“Leaders don’t sit around and complain about what’s wrong,” Jennifer said. They drive solutions. “They figure out how to make it right,” she added.

4. Apologize publicly and gloat privately.

True leaders don’t just praise publicly and criticize privately. They are also humble enough to apologize publicly and gloat privately.

“You don’t see leaders bragging about their success,” said Jennifer. “They talk about their team and their team’s contributions. And if they feel really good about themselves, they do it at home or with a close friend but not publicly.” A leader will apologize and take accountability their actions.

5. Give the hard message.

“It’s very easy to praise somebody. It’s easy to give somebody a raise or a good review.” It can be much harder, however, to have the tough conversations.

While admitting that this might sound like a harsh thing to say, Jennifer pointed out that not everyone does an outstanding job all the time. “You’ve got to tell them, and then you’ve got to move on,” she acknowledged.

The Takeaway

Her parting words for the group were filled with encouragement to strive to be a leader and not just a manager. “Learn to inspire and motivate as opposed to dictate,” she said in closing. “At the end of the day, good leaders often don’t do the work but they make you feel like they did.”

 

Jo Miller

Jo Miller is a globally renowned authority on women’s leadership. She’s dedicated two decades to helping women advance into positions of influence by leveraging their leadership strengths. Based on her work with hundreds of thousands of women, she developed a pragmatic and powerful roadmap that guides women to become the leaders they aspire to be. Jo shares this proven process in her book Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw Hill, 2019.)

Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.com and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

15 Leadership Quotes to Help You be a Leader, Not a Manager

Sometimes you need a reminder and some inspiration to be a leader, not ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…
Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…

“Shoulds” are tasks or obligations we take on, accompanied by an inner monologue that goes,

How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto
How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto

Traditionally, a manifesto is a written statement where you publicly declare your… – Intentions (what

Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more
Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more

You probably already had a to-do list longer than a CVS receipt before this global

What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?
What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?

Leadership is not about doing more. It’s about switching from doing to leading. From this

100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?
100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?

There’s an entire industry of books and seminars founded on the assumption that if you

20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020
20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020

20 of our favorite leadership quotes by women At Be Leaderly, we’re on a mission

Happy Holidays 2019
Happy Holidays 2019

May your Holidays sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and goodwill, and may the year

5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading
5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading

To become a leader, there is a series of key shifts in mindset and behavior

You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths
You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…
Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2020, Be Leaderly