Growing from Managers into Leaders

During my MBA days I had read a famous book from the Harvard Guru Warren Bennis, ‘Managing People is Like Herding Cats’. Wow ! what a book and how different are leaders from managers. Bennis rightly says, just as cats never stay in a group and cannot be herded, people cannot be managed. People have to be led.
My mentor Dr Daisaku Ikeda says, “Everything is determined by the leader’s behaviour. There is a passage in ‘The Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ that says “Those who possess genuine wisdom and virtue win the highest regard from people. They will become leaders who will make everyone feel comfortable and at ease.”
A leader must win the hearts of his followers. As the saying goes, it is very easy to defeat someone but very difficult to win someone. Leaders epitomise maturity and humility. Coins make so much sound; but currency notes are always silent.  
In my opinion, one must become a good manager first to become a good leader. One has to imbibe the fundamental principles of planning, organising, directing and so on. One must learn efficiency, result orientation and defining processes. And as one matures, one has to aspire to become a leader.
But do not become too much of a manager. It would then become difficult to become a leader.

The manager follows rules, the leader creates a vision
The manager administers and the leader innovates
The manager maintains, the leader develops.

The manager imposes rules, the leaders sets an example
The manager accepts the status quo; the leader always challenges
The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
The manager has a short range view; the leader has a long range perspective.
The manager asks 'how' and 'when'; the leader asks 'what' and 'why'...
The manager is a copy, the leader is an original.

A wonderful message was published in the Wall Street Journal by the United Technologies Corp
“The carrot always wins over the stick.
Ask your horse.
You can lead your horse to water, but try manage him to drink.
If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself.
Do that well and you’ll be ready to stop managing.
And start leading."

Let me share few humourous quotes.

As for the power of good leadership here goes “A group of donkeys led by a lion can defeat a group of lions led by a donkey. Choose your leaders wisely.”
Scott Adams, says in the ‘The Dilbert Principle’, "Management 'is the delusion that you can change people.  Leadership 'is deluding other people instead of deluding yourself."
Elaine Agather says, “The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it. “ And now the funniest one by Groucho Marx, “Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men -- the other 999 follow women.”

Dr Amit Nagpal is a Holistic Personal Branding Consultant and a Learner. To see his detailed profile click here

He may be reached at


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