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Image by Elena Koycheva


digestible content for dynamic leaders

Leadership is not a title

You can be promoted to become a Manager, but you can never be promoted to become a Leader.

For decades, the terms ‘Manager’ and ‘Leader’ have been used interchangeably. At first, this may have even been accurate due to the ways in which our organizations were designed and structured. Today, we see more benefits from breaking down these hierarchies especially as it relates to identifying true leaders beyond the management pool. High-performing organizations such as Deloitte encourage and support “Leading at every level” – but how can this be true for someone that doesn’t have the title to lead? That’s because leadership has nothing to do with a title, you either have leadership qualities or you don’t. The good news is, you can develop them.

First let’s level set on the difference. Think of Managers as Teachers. They create a curriculum to follow, they teach us the right ways of approaching tasks and challenges, they test us and report back our performance, they intervene when there is an issue, they push us along once we’ve ‘done our time’, and then they do it all over again with a new group. Now, think of Leaders as Actors. They have a vision for what they’re set out to do, they’re unique and take risks, they build a followership, they grow from every experience, and nothing they ever do is exactly the same because the audience and their preferences continuously change.

Second, what’s important to know are three things:

  • Anyone can be a leader – you can be born with leadership potential, and you can develop your leadership capabilities over time

  • Not everyone can be a manager – you need to be hired or promoted into a management position

  • People can be effective managers and leaders – this is what you should aim to be if you want to make an impact

So, what does it take to be an effective leader? Here are some do’s and don’ts you’ll want to keep in mind, inspired by Deloitte’s 8 Leadership Capability Model:

Thus, I challenge you to now reflect on the 8 capabilities above and then identify 1-2 you want to develop some more. Focused efforts can reap stronger benefits.

Source: Leadership development reimagined: Developing leaders in the flow of work -

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