Three Minute Leadership: Knowing Which Hat to Wear

Leadership and management – the two different hats, the two critical roles of highly effective leaders. It is important that leaders be aware of which hat they should be wearing and when, if they are to successfully lead their organization and people.

The root origin of the word “manage” is “hand.” At its core managing is about handling things, about maintaining order, about organization and control. The management role is responsible for control and implementation of the strategy and direction. The word “lead” at its root, means to “go, travel, guide.” Leadership has a kinesthetic feel to it, a sense of movement. Leadership is responsible for ensuring alignment of purpose and objectives throughout the organization, and inspiring and motivating people to achieve the vision. Most importantly, the leadership role is responsible for creating and implementing change – in the organization, in its people and in its processes. The following provides an understanding of the focus of the two roles.

Leaders                                          Managers
Top Line                                       Bottom Line
Direction                                           Speed
Effectiveness                                   Efficiency
Setting a Direction/ Vision           Planning/Budgeting
People-Oriented                           Thing-Oriented
Motivating/Inspiring                Controlling/Problem-Solving
Aligning People                         Organizing/Staffing
Coping with Change                  Coping with Complexity
Doing the Right Thing                  Doing Things Right
Empowerment                                 Compliance

To achieve maximum effectiveness in our professional and personal lives we need to be aware of what hat to where and when… one size does not fit all situations. It is this wisdom and understanding of what the situation calls for that gives great value to one’s actions. May you always take that brief moment, that nanosecond, to choose if you will be a problem-solver (Manager Hat), or if you will empower someone (Leadership Hat) to find the answer. Choose your hats wisely and well, and bring to others an understanding of these differences that they, too, may grow. Remember the words of Goethe: “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing in not enough; we must do.” Enjoy the richness and value of your wondrous and marvelous hats!

Have a beautiful day and a fantastic week!!!

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