Leading Leaders: Management vs. Leadership

Ron Macklin & Michelle Mosolgo

Leading Leaders: Management vs. Leadership

Episode 3: Leading Leaders

Michelle asks Ron: Do you have to be a manager in order to be a leader?

Ron says that you don’t have to be in a manager position in order to be a good leader. He talks about “roving leaders,” who create stories and ideas that others want to follow. Those people often know what’s really going on within the organization.

Michelle shares a personal story about her time in a previous position and how they found these leaders to help solve a problem they were experiencing. Ron agrees that it’s important to find and trust those leaders.

What is the difference between being a leader and being a manager? Ron clarifies that they are different, but it shouldn’t be a case of being a manager “versus” being a leader. “Manager” is a position created by an organization, while leadership is a social position. And the impacts of good leadership can reduce managerial duties regarding turnover and more.

Ron shares a professional experience from his past that illustrates this point.

How do you find the next leader? Ron shares that he’s learned a lot about this through making mistakes in the past. It’s not true that good workers make good leaders and bad workers make bad leaders. You have to look for the people who care about people and care about what they’re doing.

Michelle asks whether these people that Ron chose to be leaders were managers as well. Ron says yes, and he worked with them to separate the two roles. They had their managerial roles, and they also had the space to be leaders and create stories for everyone.

Michelle asks: How is leading others that lead, different from just leading others? Ron says there’s a simple difference. When leading someone, you need to know their story. But when leading leaders, they need to be curious and care about other people’s stories. And once people are leaders, they feel the confidence to go “all in” on their projects.

Ron says that believing in the people who work for you is crucial. Michelle shares her experience that “I believe in you” is not very commonly said in the business world. For her, hearing “I believe in you” triggers a powerful mood. For Ron, when someone says they believe in him, he feels confidence that quiets his Scared Self.

How can you sustain and nurture leaders? Ron and Michelle share the importance of acknowledgment in the leadership process. And putting someone in a management or leadership role who doesn’t have a coach or mentor for that position can cause them to create a story in their head about how terrible it is to be a manager or leader.

Michelle shares a quote: “You join companies and leave managers.” Ron asks for clarification on that quote, and Michelle tells the story of a past position where she felt that her manager didn’t care. And one by one, people on her team started to leave.

Ron says he’s experienced the same thing, and he stayed too long because he couldn’t reconcile the fact that he couldn’t make a difference there.

Michelle says it taught her a lesson about the type of manager/leader she did not want to be.

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Episode Summary

Leading Leaders: Management vs. Leadership

In this third episode, Ron and Michelle discuss leadership. While the last episode focused on leading yourself and followership, this episode discusses the differences between leaders and managers, as well as leading leaders. What makes leading leaders a unique challenge?