I recently have been captivated by how many Linked-In (http://www.linkedin.com/) discussions I am seeing in various business groups focused on trying to define the difference between managers (managing) and leaders (leading). This is hardly a new discussion. I remember reading an article in Fortune magazine back in the mid-90’s and it essentially said this (paraphrasing).
Managing is comprised of activities that keep an organization running and it typically works best in an environment where there is a well-defined organizational hierarchy. Leading on the other hand involves getting new things started and facilitating change.
Bottom line, we need both capabilities if we are going to effectively run our businesses, our educational institutions and yes, our government. But, what can we take from these definitions and apply to our lives? I mean, do you want to manage your life or lead it?
Think about it. If we apply the definitions above, would you like to go through life just trying to ‘keep things running?’ Note that in the definition it states that managing works best in an ‘environment where there is a well-defined organizational hierarchy’…does that sound like the kind of life you want to experience? The truth is, managing and leading are diametrically opposed to one another. People who are more comfortable managing love the status quo. They don’t want change in their life; in fact, many of these people are fearful of change or of trying new things. On the other hand, people who prefer to lead are just the opposite and are constantly looking for new ways of doing things and opportunities to grow. In their mind there is always the possibility of improving what is already in place.
As a ‘performance improvement‘ consultant I get the opportunity to work with college athletes, sales professionals, and executives from all over the country. For the most part, they are a pretty driven group, self-directed, self-motivated and goal oriented. But in my travels I do see a lot of people out there who seem to be willing to just ‘show up’ every day and manage life as best they can. If you think you might be one of those people, maybe it’s time for a transformation and what better time to do it than right NOW!
Don’t know how to get started? Here’s a simple exercise that might help you get a jump start. Take a very honest, clinical look at yourself and identify three special talents or qualities you have as an individual. These should be talents or those God-given gifts that truly make you special, things you like about yourself or certain abilities you have that you enjoy doing in your life. This is your ‘good stuff’ or your flavor as I like to call it. Write your three special talents/qualities down on paper. Now, ask yourself this question…”If I could use these three gifts to do something special to help someone else, be it a family member, a neighbor, maybe even a total stranger, what would I do and how would I do it?” Did you come up with an answer? Good, now go do it!
My friends, if you can perform this simple exercise and act on it on a regular basis in your life, you will not only be leading your life, you will be LIVING Deliciously!
Life is too precious to waste. Don’t be satisfied just showing up. Start today. Be the best person you can be, or at least be better than you were yesterday! Use your special talents and do something special for someone else. You will be amazed how this will transform your attitude and your entire outlook on life.
Leading your life really isn’t all that hard. all you have to do is live out this phrase and you’ll be on your way…
“Don’t Waste Your Flavor – LIVE Deliciously!”
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year to You All!