A lot of our time in nonprofits is spent interacting with each other. But we don’t take a lot of time to define our roles, or understand the roles we would like to play.
What’s a key piece of leadership that people often get wrong?
People don’t define the difference between workers, management and leadership.
If you want to move into leadership, or if you want to become a manager, here are some definitions that can help you.
Sometimes we have leaders being asked to do the work of workers. Other times we have a lack of managers, so the leader is forced to be a manager, or the workers are asked to manage themselves, which can lead to less effective outcomes for EVERYONE.
Once you start to understand this, you can start to think about how to develop the kind of experience that will allow you to become a leader, inside and outside your current organization.
So first, what’s the difference between being a worker, management and leadership?
In a nutshell, a Manager Controls things, a Leader Creates things, a Worker Does things.
|Worker Does things||Manager Controls things||Leader Creates Things|
Performs basic tasks
Performs repetitive tasks
Needs and uses resources
Develops task-specific expertise
Finds new business
Creates product/provides service
Enlists new customers and clients
Needs management and leadership
Interacts with outsiders
Responsible for own effort, production and sales
Lacks overarching viewpoint
Takes direction from others
Provides feedback to the organization
Keeps track of things
Budgets, makes ends meet, and plans
Rules-oriented and Systems based
Needs leaders and workers
Interacts internally, keeps people in line with systems
Responsible for performance of the organization
Creates structure-risk averse
Uses authority and rules, gives direction, keeps everyone lined up
Monitors organizational culture
Gets the mission defined
Creates an environment
Shakes things up
Sets direction and tone
Aligns people, internal locus of control, creative risk taker
Needs managers and workers
Interacts with outsiders, inspires people
Responsible for overall outcome
Creates mandates, risk taker
Uses influence, convinces, shows direction
Monitors outside culture
Does this make it clearer for you?
If you are recognizing yourself in the manager type instead of the leader, and would prefer to be a manager, that’s wonderful. We need more good managers. Or maybe you’re content to be a worker. That’s OK too! And learning about these types can help you define and manage your career. If you’re looking to be a leader, what might you do to start building some of these skills, now?
Are you constantly looking to trends to see what you should try?
Are you interested in finding resources, or setting the tone for organizational culture?
You might just be a leader! And what makes a good leader? (Check your current leader to see if they have some of these traits)
- Ambitiousness (appropriate amount)
- Establishes strong relationships
- Consistent high performance
- Team-building skills
- Willingness to take appropriate risks
- Being a problem solver
These ideas for good leadership come from the center for Creative Leadership, (Leslie and Van Velsor, in 1996)
If you’d like 99 more resources on nonprofit leadership, check out my comprehensive page here!