Long time ago, when I was a young executive undergoing management training, my guru told me one of his experiences. Once he picked up two of his young executives and gave each of them an assignment with stiff deadlines. One of them, palms upward, said, “But I don’t know how to do it. Please give me some guidelines” The second one didn’t know how, either, but quietly thought for a while and said, “Well, I’ll figure it out how to do it. I will come to you, if need”.
The first one grew up to become a superb manager who believed training to be the key to success. He used to tell his subordinates: “Go to some weekend classes. Learn to do things correctly. Get a good job done.” The second person grew up to be a classic leader who believed initiative to be the key to success. He used to tell his subordinates: “Look deep into your division. Innovate. Stay a step ahead of the pack.”
The story reminded me of today’s corporate executives. Are they leaders or are they managers? My experience with senior executives tells me that that most of them tend to think of themselves as leaders, but they are not. The modern view of a manager is quite different to the modern view of a leader. You lean one way more than you lean the other.