Too often a situation calls upon a person to lead, but they do nothing. They incorrectly assume that leadership is a position, a position they’re not in. So they wait, wondering why ‘someone’ doesn’t do something.
Too often a person is restrained from showing leadership by an insecure manager that feels threatened by the person’s attempt to lead. The manager incorrectly assumes that leadership is a position, their position, and the person must be after their job. Or the manager is just afraid that if the person leads, the manager will lose control, control they don’t have anyway.
Too often a person steps up to lead and they struggle. They’re not prepared because the leadership training was reserved for those in management. And when the person tries to find information on leadership, the material in the category of “Leadership” is really about management, and the good material on leadership is categorized under “Management.”
Too often a person steps up to lead, does well but then gets no credit for it. Others incorrectly assume that leadership is a position, and that person is not in such a position, so it must have been someone else who made the difference. And it is sad when the person who led well is discouraged by the whole thing, and hesitates the next time they’re called upon to lead.
It is not often at all that someone is an excellent manager and an excellent leader. But too often these rare folks aren’t recognized for their leadership ability. People incorrectly assume their leadership skills are part of their position as a manager. And the manager/leader never achieves the full measure of their incredible potential.
There is a shortage of leadership. However, there is no shortage of leaders. So many leaders are unfortunately trapped by misconceptions around what leadership is and is not. If we could find a way to untangle the passion of leadership from the position of management, it would free people to be the leaders they are called to be. And the world would find the leadership it seeks, not just from those in authority, but from people all around. And most importantly we would find it in ourselves.
Management is a job. Leadership is life.