Ask anyone and they'll tell you. There's a difference between managers and leaders.
Ask them what that difference is and they may have a bit more difficulty. Suddenly the words become amorphous and undefined. Somehow leadership is an intangible - a charismatic component that some people have and others simply don't. That's why, according to the ubiquitous "they", it is such a rarity.
The difference between being a manager and being a leader is simple. Management is a career. Leadership is a calling.
You don't have to be tall, well-spoken and good looking to be a successful leader. You don't have to have that "special something" to fulfill the leadership role.
What you have to have is clearly defined convictions - and, more importantly, the courage of your convictions to see them manifest into reality. Only when you understand your role as guide and steward based on your own most deeply held truths can you move from manager to leader.
Whether the group you oversee is called employees, associates, co-workers, teammates or anything else, what they are looking for is someone in whom they can place their trust. Someone they know is working for the greater good - for them and for the organization. They're looking for someone not only that they can - but that they want to - follow.
Because it is only when you have followers -people who have placed their trust in you - that you know you have moved into that leadership role. And the way you see it is that your organization is transcending all previous quality, productivity, innovation and revenue achievements. You're operating at such a high level of efficiency that you're giving budget back to the corporation - and you're still beating your goals.
You're achieving what you always dreamed could be achieved. And not only that, but it's actually easier than you thought.
Because you're a leader. Because the classic command and control management model - which, contrary to popular belief still applies even in our most progressive 21st century companies - is no longer in play. Sure, controls are in place. Sure, you're solving problems that arise.
But it's not just you alone. You have the people in whom you've put your trust - and who have happily and safely reciprocated - to help you create organizational success.