A Manager is a Map — A Leader is Satellite Navigation
July 24, 2019
As I wrote that title it suddenly dawned on me that for some people reading this some won’t ever have used a paper map, in fact the closest thing the Gen Z (also known as the iGeneration) will have as a point of reference would be Call of Duty/Fortnite.
When I talk about a map I am referring to the only point of navigation widely used before we had Satellite Navigation. I am referring to a piece of paper or a book if you were fancy which I am sure accounted for 40% of marriage/relationships breakups before 2000 when a more accurate GPS navigation was made widely available for civilian use.
Maps were rigid, they were created decades ago and could not be easily changed. They did not consider any roadworks, road closure or traffic. They did not give you an estimated time of arrival to your destination. You were left to your own devices with a loose idea of how to get to your destination. Long journeys tended to have one person driving and the other person “navigating” based on the map but they were confusing a wrong turn could cost you hours on the road or worse yet completely lost and as you can imagine frustration lead to anger which to arguments and you arrive at why relationships ended after a long car journey.
A manager is a map, they give you a task to accomplish sometimes with a timeline but they do not come along for the journey. They are sometimes very inflexible and are as dynamic as a paper map.
When you have issues along the way due to conflicting commitments or delays which impact your delivery they don’t care. They rely on positional authority to exercise control with complete focus on execution.
A leader, on the other hand, can be compared to Google maps, they are there with you on the journey from start to finish. They help you navigate the detours, road closure and accidents that might occur on the journey. They understand that the estimated time of arrival can change due to things outside of your control.
Timeframes do still matter but they are flexible and more understanding when change occurs constantly communicating updates when the course changes similar to how maps update due to delays like traffic.
Leaders inspire people to follow them without necessarily having positional authority over them. They focus on developing and empowering others so by the time the journey is over you have grown and developed.
WHICH TYPE ARE YOU?
It has been said the business world needs both great leaders and great managers but as companies embrace more technology in organisations as well as trying to improve diversity we need more leaders and fewer managers for real change to occur but that is a topic for another day