Guest Post By Allie Hoffman of The Pari Project
Lately I have been exploring the difference between ‘managers’ and ‘leaders’, wondering what ingredients go into making someone effective as one but not the other, and whether or not you can nurture both.
The reason for the exploration is intensely personal; I’m supposed to step aside and hand over the social enterprise I created to a Leadership Team in the near future. (‘Near’ is relative; it might be another year or more, so bear with me.)
Despite the long-winded and self-directed timeline, thinking about handing over can be panic-inducing; my entire identity is wrapped up in being an unwitting founder, and to think my current challenge is to develop traits in others I barely understand in myself, is daunting.
Pari has worked with 35 NGOs in its lifetime; that’s 35 leaders and/or managers to study. When I think about the effective leaders, I think about their common traits: humble, patient, confident, fearless, audacious, original. I think about how their work has become an intrinsic part of who they are, and their devotion is unshakable. With this devotion comes vision, that constant desire to be springing forth something new and transformative.
Pari has also worked with a lot of great managers. Getting people to do things they would otherwise not want to do is an art form; great managers know how to get things done. Managers think in linear ways; they communicate clearly and effectively; they are often meticulously organized. Managers see problems, and immediately set to work solving said problem. Their solutions are innovative and incisive.
What do I have – managers or leaders? I don’t know. Which one am I? I don’t know either.
What I have learned is that if I leave behind a space where people are questioning, challenging, innovating and taking risks; an approach that begets flexibility, adaptability and patience, and a core ideology that implores the team and its leaders to ‘believe in better’, then I leave having done my job.
What do you think great leadership entails? What does it mean to be a great manager? Please leave your thoughts below.
This is a guest post by Allie Hoffman of The Parivartan Project. Pari is a social enterprise whose purpose is to empower the citizen sector; to do this, they provide fundraising, marketing and organizational development services. To learn more: www.thepariproject.com