The art of leadership Many assume that a manager is automatically a leader. Although each, essentially, has a different role to play in an organisation, leadership qualities can make a manager a star performer. A manager must be responsible for an activity as an overseer or controller, whereas a leader guides, persuades, influences or directs, and leads by example. It has been said that management is a science, and leadership is an art, and that leaders are born, not made. Key management skills can be acquired through training, but possession of these skills alone does not make an effective leader. Pronounced physical characteristics can help. It is a distinct advantage to be tall, to have a confident posture, a good voice and forceful body language, although the most important attributes are energy, stamina and persistence. The following is a brief guide that you can apply to your work, and life, so people will be inspired to follow you rather than wait for you to drive them with the proverbial carrot and stick. The manager must administer and the leader must motivate, but the one characteristic that all winners share is that they are passionate. At the very least, passion covers many sins. However, passion and enthusiasm are often infectious and can ignite a fire in others. People who champion all that they do tend to be passionate about what they are undertaking, and motivate and energise those around them. They may not always be right, but if they are straight and honest, they build good relationships. Leaders wil be able to make the workplace, and doing business, fun. For too many people the office represents "just a job". Perhaps Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, had the right idea when he said celebration was "a great way to energise an organisation". A leader is an original. He or she sets the tone of an organisation through a personal intensity that determines the organisation's intensity. People look to leaders and, if they respect them, imitate their style. While the manager focuses on systems, the leader concentrates on people. Getting the right person in the right job is more important than developing a strategy. So make sure everybody counts and that they know it. Welch also said: "Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere has to offer, and transfer this learning across your organisation. And understand where real value is added and put your best people there." An informal working atmosphere is a competitive advantage, along with the realisation that employees do not have to be monitored constantly. The leader knows when to get involved to make a difference, and when to let go if he has little to offer. While the manager looks at the short term, the leader has a long range view. Of course the business must still be thriving in 10 years, but many companies look only from year to year. With publicly quoted companies, this is often because share prices depend on company results, and that can invoke a short-term, bottom line view. Leaders must also keep an eye on competitors and never underestimate them. Never be afraid to challenge the status quo: good leaders are able to successfully introduce change, and they realise the need to react to a threat or opportunity in good time, while change is still feasible. One example of a leader who has really made a difference in the grocery industry is Carlos Criado-Perez. Under his leadership Safeway has undergone an entire culture change with remarkable speed. As The Grocer stated in its Opinion of June 9, undue emphasis on process and procedures has been replaced by a focus on stores and their customers. Store managers report new-found autonomy, buyers bask in the glow of knowing their ideas are really wanted and, as far as can be gauged, staff really do seem to be having fun at work. But it is particularly hard to persuade employees to embrace change when an organisation is successful. They can be reluctant to move out of their physical and psychological comfort zones, so a leader must create dissatisfaction with the status quo. Now, with a little navel gazing, you should be able to judge if you are a manager and a leader. n {{LEADING EDGE }}