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Discovered: Why There are so Few Leaders

by Feb 5, 201910 comments

We have been discussing the difference between “managers” and “leaders” forever. But as I have worked with leaders over the years I have discovered within this distinction an important secret that may explain why we have so few real leaders.

Most leaders begin their careers as managers, and earn their promotions by constantly delivering better managerial results. As you can see from the chart above, the left columns shows how we train, reward, and promote managers for managing increasingly complex responsibilities, and we promote them into leadership roles when they are at the height of their analytical and operational skills attainment. Being a great leader requires an entirely different skill-set for which they have not been trained or equipped, and these are shown in the right-hand column in the chart above.

I hear from employees almost daily, how their leader has great expertise, but no “people skills”. Therein lies one of the key reasons why 80% of the population would quit their jobs if they had a free choice and 65% of employees would take a new boss over a pay raise. Here I describe the “Jekyll and Hyde” aspect of so-called leadership qualities (which sound much more like managerial qualities) and the qualities of inspiring people.

How to get past this dismal result and transform our leaders into people who inspire others to high performance is the subject of my latest book, The Bellwether Effect. Take this 1 minute quiz to learn whether your organization is “managed” or inspired. As a client said to me recently, and so eloquently, “The skills I learned in my MBA program 20 years ago are not going to help me to transform my organization into an inspiring power-house”.

Let’s be clear: moving from management to leadership is not “a promotion” – it is “a career change”!





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