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Leader.

Leader.

When I think of the words “leader” or “leadership”, part of me wants to roll my eyes at the fluffiness. The terms “manager” and “management” just sounds stronger, more determined and more focused.

When I think of a manager, I think of someone who calls people out on their bullshit. He or she is a numbers person. They get down to business, make the tough decisions, streamline processes, and increase profits. When I think of a leader, the first thing that comes to my mind is people. Leaders are people oriented, while managers are business oriented. A person in a position of leadership needs to excel at both.

But here’s what I think…

People are at the heart of everything we do. Brené Brown says humans are wired to connect with one another. They say the number one reason employees stay at their jobs is because of the friendships they make with coworkers.

The skills of a leader outshine the skills of a manager. Yet, leadership skills seem to be highly underrated.

Leadership is hard to define. And this is coming from someone who has been trained in leadership! There’s talk about “natural born leaders”, and while I think there’s some truth to the thought, I think you need to want to be a leader in order to lead.

Leadership is not for the faint of heart, and there is much, much more to it than what people understand on the surface. When I discuss leadership concepts with people, they agree and may even tell a story that justifies their understanding. But unless they practice what they preach, I have little respect for their opinion. There’s a big difference in thinking and doing, and it’s leaders that differentiate one from the other.

Learning Leadership.

Learning Leadership.

The more I strive to be in a position of influence within my industry and my community, the more I find myself in disagreements with people.  In the end, we’re all fighting for what we think is right.  Sometimes, you come out on top, and sometimes you are defeated.  And sometimes the only thing you can do is agree to disagree.

Some people are naturally born as leaders, and some people develop the skills later on.  Everyone has the potential, but not everyone has the desire.

How you handle disagreements tells a lot about what kind of leader you are.  In fact, I think that is what can distinguish you as being a leader or not.  Disagreements need to be handled politely, tactfully, with grace, and self-reflection.  Sometimes you have to take the blow so your team doesn’t have to.  You cannot learn from the experience without reflecting on what went wrong, how you handled the situation, how you contributed to it, and how you could have prevented it.

I don’t always handle disagreements the way that I should.  But that’s okay, we’re all human and make mistakes.  It’s recognizing and admitting that I don’t handle disagreements well that differentiates me as a rising leader.