There’s no shortage of opinions on what leadership is, and how it differs from management. You can find whole books dedicated to the topic.
I think of leadership as three things:
- Setting and communicating future direction and goals (including the why)
- Attracting and retaining the best talent
- Creating an environment in which people can be successful.
I appreciate there’s alot that sits under those three things. But, ultimately, whatever the level of leadership, it leads back to these three focuses.
For example, if you’re a CEO, it means setting and communicating the overall vision and strategy of the company. You then have to help everyone connect the dots between the near term priorities and the end goal. It also means building a leadership team who will hire the best talent and run the company in a way which gives it the best chance of success.
If you’re managing a small team, it means making the long-term priorities of your team clear and showing how they fit with the company’s overall vision, strategy and goals. You then have to help the team connect the dots between their tasks and the team’s long-term priorities. And lastly, you have to make sure your team has the best talent and is able to get their work done to a high level.
Like I said, there’s a lot of detail that sits under the above three things. But, if you ever feel yourself getting a bit lost in the detail, you’d do well to come back to these three things to help guide what you focus on.