Business managers are increasingly finding themselves being replaced by business leaders. The difference between a leader and a manager is that while a manager views the job as a career, a leader perceives it as a calling and a personal responsibility. There are many traits that differentiate between a manager and a leader, but the most significant element is their role since the duty of a manager is to manage, while that of a leader is to lead. Unlike managers, leaders attract their follows by earning their trust and through motivation.
In my professional career, I have had several opportunities not only to be a manager, but also to exercise my leadership skills. This essay endeavors to describe one such occasion. Our company strategized to formulate a method through which our major clients would be transited for GAAP to IFSR. The company executives preferred internally bred solution. Thus, we were divided into teams, each with a leader and a mentor.
The teams were to present their findings to the judges who were the company executives in a span of two weeks. Ken, an extremely respected business leader was my team leader. However, his packed schedules did not allow him time to convene our group within the first week. Upon realizing that we were running out of time, I decide to convene our first meeting with our mentor to map the way forward. This first meeting was not very successful as my team members did not have the necessary knowledge on the case we were working on. This influenced our mentor to be very skeptical of our team’s ability. That is when I decided to take full responsibility of the project.
I rallied my team members and within a short time, we had a workable project plan, comfortable with all members. I then identified the special talents in each of my team members and assigned them responsibilities concurrent with those talents. This proved very useful in improving team efficiency. Prior to every meeting, I did extensive research on the case and summarized my findings.
These findings provided my team with necessary information it needed. I had to provide the general direction, thus giving each member space for creative involvement in the task. The fact that we were short of time motivated team members to work diligently in their areas of responsibly and reporting to the group on the progress made. The task was not only completed in time, but was also voted as the best. It was a task accomplished successfully within limited time and under dedicated leadership and teamwork.
Our project provides several valuable lessons on leadership. Leaders must develop the trust of team members and their abilities to accomplish the task. Other than provide general direction, they should also provide the necessary resources to the team. In our case, knowledge was the resource the team members needed. They also recognize and allocate duties according to team member’s abilities, while letting them be creatively involved in the task. Generally, they make every member feel appreciated and valued by the team.