A good manager has intelligence, is efficient; a strong leader has intellect; is effective.
A good manager continually demonstrates the ability to grasp and complete those tasks that are within a limited, predictable framework, and clearly stated goals. A good manager is practical; re-orders, re-adjusts, and filters away information that does not seem important in completing the task. We admire those who through their intelligence get things done, they are efficient.
A strong leader is one who with intelligence as a foundation; examines, theorizes, contemplates the meanings of situations as a whole. A strong leader sees the big picture, understands the impact downstream, connects the dots; all terms used to identify intellect. We admire those who through their intelligence get things done, and through their intellect insure the results have a more far-reaching affect than the specific task at hand; they are effective.
How Does One Become Effective?
It begins with involving others, by building a strong team, having the confidence and a sense of appreciative attachment to depend on them. Many have tried; none have succeeded in knowing everything about their area of responsibility, it is impossible. Those who claim to be fully conversant, talking endlessly without assistance, involvement from others are using their bravado and actions as a wall to hide a lack of confidence. These actions generate long-term negative impact on team morale resulting in decreased long-term team productivity; far outweighing benefits of any completed task.
A strong leader demonstrates confidence in their position through collaborative decision making; where with a good decision, everyone shares in the recognition; a bad decision, responsibility rests fully with the leader to correct, and working with the team demonstrate how a future reoccurrence will be prevented. A strong leader when needed or helpful will interact as a peer, available as a sounding board, devil’s advocate, with one’s team or with others.
Next carving out time for reflection is essential. President Lee C. Bollinger of Columbia University in his 2008 Commencement Address states “The battle over beliefs is increasingly dominating and threatens the possibilities for a reflective mind. Busyness is the first problem. Multi-tasking is the arch-enemy of reflection. Technology gives us too much information too much of the time.” (Emphasis mine)
A leader’s strength is not demonstrated by being continuously over-scheduled, over-worked, beyond exhaustion. If you have no time to think, if you do not seek opportunities to clear your head (a walk, lunch with a friend from outside of work, a trip to the gym); then how will you set your team’s direction, if not you then who?
Strong leaders look for what others have done well, and seek to build on that success. Rather than focusing on what has gone wrong, strong leaders expect competence creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of team success which becomes the norm. Celebrating success is required; recognizing and firmly correcting failure and incompetence is critical.