Leading the Path for Your Team

In today's corporate world, 'leader' and 'manager' are often used interchangeably, but they represent distinct roles and mindsets. Leadership is the practice of protecting and developing leaders, pointing the way for their success, much like a compass. On the other hand, management primarily focuses on control and direction, ensuring assigned tasks are completed and goals are met. The key difference is that leadership inspires and motivates others to lead, while management oversees and directs.

At the core of effective leadership lies the ability to understand and provide what your team needs to thrive. As Samuel C. Johnson wisely told me, 'Your job is not to manage them, but to manage the world around them.' This means identifying and removing obstacles that hinder their progress, advocating for new paths or strategies that could benefit the team, and ensuring they have the necessary resources and support to lead with their skills. For instance, you could negotiate for more budget or time for your leaders to reach their goals or create a more risk-welcoming and competitive environment.

Authentic leadership is not about asserting authority or imposing your vision; it's about fostering an environment where team members can develop their leadership potential. Leadership is more than just leading; it is about empowering others to lead. Encourage them to make mistakes, for it is through overcoming challenges that they gain confidence and grow their abilities. Listen attentively to their needs and perspectives, ensuring you haven't merely invented assumptions about their requirements. This approach instills optimism and hope in their growth.

Trust is the bedrock upon which leadership thrives. Trust your team to take the lead, innovate, and forge new paths. Your role is to guide the general course, shielding them from the unknown and appreciating their accomplishments along the way. This trust is not just a foundation; it's a fortress that makes them feel secure and valued in their roles.

It is not about their trust in you but your trust in your team. Don't be deceived by their success. You didn't earn their success; if they don't trust you, they cannot succeed. If you do not trust your team members, the leadership practitioner will always question themselves first by seeking to understand and then be understood.

Being specific, measurable, and achievable regarding significant goals is far more critical than mistakes. If you take away their trust in your faith, it is gone. You can never retrieve it.

Remember, titles like 'director' or 'manager' do not inherently make someone a leader. A leader is at the forefront, guiding their team through uncertainty and showing them paths they have never traveled. It's a service mindset, enabling others to succeed and achieve their goals.

Aspiring leaders must embrace this philosophy: look after your people first, foremost, and always. When you trust your team, they will care for their customers, and collectively, you will lead your organization to greatness.

What is a Process Architect or Process Architecture?