Management involves the skilful exercise of formal authority derived from appointment to a position of power. Leadership, on the other hand, rests on the ability to influence people, often through commitment to a worthy aim.
Managers are appointed, leaders choose themselves, at least at first.
Of course, good leaders are quite likely to be selected for management positions, and managers may well find greater passion for the work and so become more effective leaders. Ability to both manage and lead may well be found in the one person.
If we want to find leaders in our organisation, we need to create the circumstances in which they can emerge—usually through working on change with a group of people.
Several times recently, in being with organisations where future leaders have emerged that no-one expected, I have learned that, whilst we can notice management ability, we just don’t know who the leaders might be. They only appear when they care enough about an issue that’s been placed in front of them—when it touches their heart.
So it may be a good idea to make problems and opportunities visible and not worry over much about having the answers or organising everybody.
To paraphrase Parker J Palmer… the emerging leader (which means the soul), “is like a wild animal, tough, resilient, and yet shy. When we go crashing through the woods shouting for it to come out so we can help it, the soul will stay in hiding. But if we are willing to sit quietly and wait for a while, the soul (the emerging leader) may appear.”
Managers are chosen; leaders emerge. We do well to create the right circumstances.
Ahmed Alsayed says
I am fully onboard with this concept, however in a highly hierarchical organization structure the culture is not conducive to allow for “natural leaders to emerge”. The struggle is changing the mindset. Where do you start? On an individual level, more and more people are buying into this model, but it stagnates when it comes to implementation!