Management and leadership. The two seem to go hand-in-hand, but there is often a divide between management and their employees. There are a million problems that arise – whether the employees feel the manager is unqualified, or the manager feels the employees are lazy, there is often a simple lack of respect between the two.
Enter the leader. Someone who can energize and focus their workforce. Someone who can forge a real team out of a group of people who may not have anything in common. A leader and a manager differ in one key way – a leader shows, while a manager tells.
A great example of this difference is an executive chef. An executive chef is the creative mind behind high-end cuisine and top tier plating. He brings his vision, his art to life on a plate and allows others a little bit of a look at his world.
An executive chef is also rarely part of a dinner service. He is rarely the one cooking or cleaning, never dealing with the wait staff. He instead teaches another chef his recipe and how the dish should look, who in turn passes it along to the rest of the staff. Note that this is not always the case, but it is fairly common.
The chef whom he teaches is the leader (in a perfect kitchen). This person has full control of the kitchen and its staff, and has been through everything from the dish pit on up. They have the respect of their staff and are on the front line, so to speak, to fix any issues that might arise during a service.
The point is that leadership comes from experience. While a manager may not be a great leader, a great leader is a great manager. Respect is key. A leader has the respect and often even admiration of his employees. He wears many hats at once, and can be looked to for guidance in the workplace.
This begins at the base level – a leader is proficient in all aspects of the job he expects his employees to do. Usually (hopefully) more than proficient, he excels. He can switch on whatever he needs to in order to help get his team out of the weeds, regardless of what the issues are.
The next level is knowing the steps necessary to get everyone back up to speed. The leader knows that if a single person is behind, the whole machine is behind, and steps have to be taken to catch back up.
Beyond that, the leader is able to rally his troops. When a tough hour, or day, or week is ahead, the leader is right there on the front, plugging away alongside his employees. He provides them with energy and motivation, and encourages everyone to keep pushing until the end. That is the difference between a manager and a leader.