Friday, January 14, 2011

Response from Erica Bailey: Manager vs. Leader

In my last post named "Calling Out Erica Bailey" I asked Erica, to give me a little somethin somethin... Well, here you have it:

Jenny, I have written and re-written my response to your challenge and nothing has felt like an adequate response until now. The business side of the SEO business keeps me awake at night. This is actually due to excitement, like a child on Christmas Eve; I am filled with ideas and dreams that this business model creates! Take a quick look at a few of the most successful companies, according to Hoovers FT Global Fortune 500 List, Apple ranks at #5 and Google #30, and both organizations are well known for being original both in their products, but their business model in reference to employee relations.

ESEO, like Apple and Google, embrace that side which is apparent through their leadership team and even more with the staff that have been hand selected to make this company where clients WANT to go when they need results. What I found while doing research for my graduate degree was that the successful organizations that have remained powerful during the recession, have leaders in senior management, not just managers. In my professional opinion, a company is bound to succeed if they follow a few simple steps, starting with having the right people.

In my paper entitled “Great Leaders are like Mothers”  I explain the difference between a manger and a leader:
Manager vs. Leader
Typically a manager and a leader are considered one in the same, but they are not. Certainly a good manager should be able to lead, and a great leader should be able to manage within a company, but it is difficult to find an individual who can do such in cooperation.
“Both leadership and management are important in an organization. The key difference between the two is that management is about processes and leadership is about people. You manage accounts payable, but you lead an accounts-payable administrator” (Schulz, G., 2008, p. 1).
                Unfortunately the business world does not see a great deal of leaders within the management positions and that is because people are promoted within a company for the wrong reasons. Most of the time an individual is promoted due to tenure when in fact they may or may not have any leadership skills, or the ability to seek out the technical problems within a company, and how to lead the staff, teach them to resolve issues themselves. This most likely stems from our early childhood development as we are told what to do by our parents, siblings, guardians and mentors when rarely we are taught what to do, or to think for ourselves and seek out the answers to the questions on our own. Instead of teaching little Johnny to think about why he should not stick a fork in a light socket, or why he should wear a helmet while riding his bike in the street, we just tell him. Of course, as parents, we are concerned about his safety, but as he grows will he be able to be come to his own conclusions regarding such issues? This is probably why we see leadership traits get passed down from generation to generation, because true leaders are taught how to be such through their mentors, who were also great leaders themselves.
Going back to management through advancement, as Warren Bennis says in On Becoming a Leader, “the manager administers; the leader innovates. The manager imitates; the leader initiates. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it” (Buss, D., 2001, p. 45). These traits are difficult to find as the breed seems to be declining every generation, so what characteristics should one be looking for when trying to fill a management position? Gregory Nelson, vice president of Development Dimensions International in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania explains, “There’s a difference between a leader by title and a leader by profile. Leaders by profile are the people who are the biggest influence in the organization – the people who get things done. Very often, that doesn’t follow the organizational chart” (Buss, D., 2001, p. 45). Thus, unfortunately businesses do not find themselves putting an individual with a leadership mentality into the role of management as they most often just select the next person in line, or they hire someone outside the current staff who has management experience, however they should be looking for someone who has the behaviorisms of a leader if they really want to succeed in the future.

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