One of the most misunderstood concepts in our workplace is that leaders are managers. It is important to understand that a manager is someone who accounts for resources, organizes processes, and reports data to directors. On the contrary, a leader is someone who develops people into their full potential. While the manager may be focused on perfecting procedures and reporting accurate data, a leader’s focus rests on maximizing one’s skill set and mapping out his or her goals.
A leader develops people into managers, supervisors, chief executive officers, etc., so that he or she can achieve the ultimate vision of the company. Interestingly, one working definition of leadership is “effectively communicating your vision.” A leader must spend time developing employees so that the big picture of the company is understood and feverishly sought after.
One of the ways a leader develops people is by providing support. It is important to note that supporting someone is not doing everything for him or her or providing everything for him or her. Supporting someone personally is helping him or her with information, physical help, contacts, or resources. If people are not doing their part, then a coaching session is in order to talk about their role in helping themselves. One of the most important jobs of a leader is to hold people accountable and provide constructive criticism. This is the only way a person can grow and learn from his or her mistakes.
Finally, supporting people means ensuring that they have the tools and the training they need to be successful. It doesn’t mean that you enable their weaknesses or dysfunction. A leader must do everything in his or her power to create a community environment that is highly accountable, but it is practiced with care and concern for the person, rather than the harsh treatment employees may endure in some workplaces today.