This debate may not be as age old as whether the chicken or the egg came first but in our current environment this is a well debated topic.  What is more important, to have a leader or a manager?  Even I have made a point over the past year of referring to our management teams as leadership teams.  In most of my blog posts I have always tried to use the term leader vs. manager.  We have even renamed our General Manager title in our restaurants to Director of Happiness.  It has struck me over the past few months that both sides of the argument are equally important. 

  • A leader’s main focus is on the people whereas a manager’s main focus is on the results.  In a recent Forbes article that surveyed 60,000 workers the findings were amazing.  The article stated that people that focused primary on the people were only viewed as great by their workers 12% of the time.  People that focused primarily on results were viewed as great only 14% of the time.  People that focus solely on results tend to lose the enthusiasm of their team.  People that focus solely on the people have happy, excited team members that may not be going in the right direction or paying attention to the details.   
  • The real answer to the debate is “Leadership”.  You can call yourself a manager or you can call yourself a leader, but to be truly successful you need to be able to focus on both people and results.  The study found that less than 1% of leaders / managers studied were able to focus on both people and results.  Those 1% were viewed as great by the workers 72% of the time.  To me this is one of the keys to successful employee engagement which we touched on a few weeks back and how it is at an all time low.  By focusing on both the people and the results, you are able to motivate and engage the team but still keep everyone on the correct path and paying attention to the details.  Leadership is a choice, management is a position. 
  • As we strive to always create loyal, raving fans as well as loyal, raving team members we need to remember what makes a great experience.  It takes a great, people-focused interaction to create the relationship and it takes a detail orientated, consistent interaction to keep the relationship positive.  We all need to be great leaders and great managers every day to keep moving ourselves and our business forward.  One good thing is that we can teach most good leaders to become good managers by having great operating systems in place.  Are you a leader, a manager or a combination of both?   

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