Management and leadership: The two words may seem synonymous, but in practice they are quite different. Management is about managing others. Leadership is about seeing and hearing others, setting a direction, and then letting go of managing what happens next.
If you want to be an effective leader, there are a few critical things you need to understand: First, nobody wants to be managed. Second, who you are is more important than how smart you are. And last, leadership is all about developing and enabling meaningful and trusting human relationships.
Regardless of hierarchies and power structures within a company, we are all first and foremost human beings. We want to connect on a human level with each other. Many leaders rise through the ranks thanks to a mastery of management skills—setting direction, managing plans, and solving problems—and less so the interpersonal and relational side of leadership. But massive disruptions to the workplace in the past few years have upended the role of leaders and demand an integration of both the performance and the human aspects of leadership. Employees are looking for leaders who can make tough decisions and drive results, but at the same time create an environment that provides flexibility, connection, and a sense of belonging. Now is the time to unlearn management and relearn being human first.