Becoming a better leader is primarily an internal process of self-reflection; learning to think and then behave differently. It’s about seeing yourself as a leader, and then behaving in ways that make others see you as a leader, too. Becoming a better manager is primarily about honing your craft; creating habits of speech, organization, and interaction that allow the people who work for you to be best utilized and best focused on achieving the company’s goals.
Great leaders and great managers listen well, are curious, manage their self-talk, and hold themselves accountable for moving the business forward.
If you actually do these four things, and at the same time both hone your people management skills and develop yourself as a followable leader – you’ll be pretty much unstoppable; I’ve observed that folks who have this combination of skills and attributes can more or less write their own ticket.
The combination of good manager and good leader is rare and valuable, and far more useful than either one alone. So let’s stop debating about which one is better, cooler, or more needed – let’s do both.