Leading vs. managing: See our tips for effective leadership

Leadership is a desirable skill at all levels of an organization

Leadership is a desirable skill at all levels of an organization
Whether you’re new to running an organization or an old pro, you probably know there’s more to leading a business than simply making sure products are delivered on time. Management experts draw a clear line between leading and managing, and it starts with the boss. (That’s you, boss.)

Read on for tips from business experts on creating an environment that fosters good leadership.

In a recent study by Gartner on leadership in the digital age, the research firm suggested ways to thrive in a time of nearly constant change by “spotting the potential of new combinations of new technologies, finding ways of turning that potential into business opportunities and, most important of all, taking people along with them, crafting that new culture and successfully executing on those opportunities.”

The way to become a leader who can attract quality people to take with you, wrote management guru Jim Rohn, “is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills and opportunities you offer. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective.”

Management focuses on choosing what needs to be done and prioritizing the work, then making sure it’s completed effectively. In contrast, successful leadership, say management pros, is about bringing people together under a shared vision.

“A boss is someone who’s been given a title or position to manage people, where a leader is someone who people follow because they believe in their vision and respect their expertise, experience, and perspective,” says Melanie Lundberg, assistant vice president of talent management and corporate communications at Combined Insurance in Chicago. Lundberg has spent the past 20 years in talent management and communications consulting.

“Leaders attract people to them through their passion, knowledge, strength and ability to inspire and coach others to achieve their goals,” she says, “whether personally or professionally. Leadership is about influencing others to take action vs. a boss who may order someone to do a task. A great leader can motivate someone to go above and beyond what was initially requested because the individual is inspired to do more — to be more.”

Doug Ringer, an advisor who’s worked with senior leaders at Honeywell, GE and Ericsson, specializes in growing businesses. He offers three tips to leading effectively.

“Good leaders listen with discernment to broad perspectives, make informed decisions as rapidly as needed and act decisively,” Ringer says. Look for a variety or perspectives, using them to make informed decisions quickly and decisively.

If you’re taking the reins of an organization for the first time, Ringer has some specific advice.

“Unless the business is in dire straits, make no changes at all for 60 to 90 days,” he says. “Learn the business and, more importantly, your people.”

NEXT Conference logoBusiness experts frequently recommend focusing on the importance of relationships. And like an athlete performing at a high level, good leaders need good coaching.

“Get a mentor to learn from,” Ringer says. “Your business is too valuable to risk to someone without the proper skills. Listen and learn much more than you posture and preach.”

Get insights and share new ideas on leadership at PBM’s NEXT Conference Sept. 24-26, 2018 in Austin, Texas. For more information and to register now, visit www.pbmnext.com

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