Consider the words of US Navy Admiral Grace Hopper: “You cannot manage men into battle. You manage things; you lead people.”
I coach a lot of people who have the term “manager” in their title. If there are human beings within your realm of responsibility, you had better be a leader and not just a manager. Sure, you may need to manage the P&L or the production schedule. But your people need you to be a leader.
Now, let’s look at what type of leader you are.
There are basically two types of leaders:
1) Steamroll Leaders
2) Steam Engine Leaders
Steamroll Leaders basically strong-arm people into action. They do this by virtue of their formal authority. They believe they have an institutional right bestowed on them by their position to command employees to perform certain activities.
What happens when Steamroll Leaders exert their authority?
Lay a rubber band on top of your desk. Now try to push that rubber band across the top of the desk. What happens? It rolls up on you…or your finger rolls over the top of the rubber band. It goes nowhere.
That’s precisely what happens in life. People roll up on leaders who try to push them into action. The Steamroll Leader has no other option than to roll over that person, and no progress is made. Even when it does work, there is a lot of effort exerted for minimal progress, and no long-term gain.
A Steam Engine Leader is much different.
Place the rubber band on top of your desk again. Now put your finger inside the rubber band and pull it across the top of the desk. Isn’t that easier? As long as you don’t move too fast, you can use your finger to lead that rubber band all over the top of the desk.
It’s the same with people. Steam Engine Leaders move people from the inside first. They begin by connecting to the heart of their people. Then, they draw people along with them as they lead the way, rather than trying to push them from behind.
Think about it… which kind of leader are you? Which kind of leader would you rather follow?