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There’s a difference between Supervising and Leading.

OK, let me start by telling you the end of the newsletter first. Leaders don’t always have rank and authority. Not all Leaders are born with “leadership skills”. Leadership skills can be learned.

So, if that’s the message, why read on? Because if you don’t read on you won’t be sure if you know why. IKR.

Let’s start with attributes of “Leaders”…in no special rank order, and by no means complete:

  • Leaders appreciate the uncompromising importance of “trust-based relationships with those around them”.

  • Leaders are recognized for their ever-present, “big-picture” perspective, and operate from a full understanding that they must be consistently consistent in how they approach decision-making and interactions with those they supervise.

  • In even the most stress-filled, pressure-filled, and risk-filled workplaces and industries, Leaders create a sense of “safeness”.

  • People who work for Leaders value the sense of trust and the sense of safety..which translates into a willingness to collaborate with their co-workers, to a higher level.

Want to know what I think about that? WOW!

Now Supervisors or Managers are also expected to “accomplish”. How they interact with those they supervise can fall in various places along a spectrum of behaviors: (Again, in no special rank order, and not complete.):

  • Some Managers and Supervisors operate from weakness and lacking confidence and often are manipulated by those they supervise.

  • Some Managers and Supervisors rely on their rank and authority to demand and direct.

  • Some Managers and Supervisors bounce around in how they manage and supervise because they are consistently inconsistent in how they direct, how they implement policies, and how they interact with those they manage and supervise which is the most disliked supervisory style.

  • Many managers and supervisors opt for continuing to do their previous non-supervisory functions, because that’s where they feel confident, and because they don’t know how to delegate.

Managers and Supervisors may be productive to pretty impressive levels. Others to less than impressive levels. For Leaders, it's not about being in charge. (Are you ready for it?) For Leaders, it's about taking care of those in their charge. (That includes giving tough information at times.)

Fortunately, I believe, all of those Leader attributes can be learned, with self-discipline and practice.

Up for the effort? (The return on your effort will amaze you.)


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