As I sit here on a Sunday morning answering emails from angry residents, insane clients, and mad vendors, covering topics from dog poop to broken refrigerators to lost invoices to missing payments, I was remembering some research I did on effective managers while working on my MBA. You see , I studied there is a difference between manager and leader. Managers are simply long tenured employees in many cases that were promoted to managers but that does not make them respected or a leader.
In any business mistakes happen, and ours is no different. Accounting credits the wrong accounts, bills get lost on desks and not paid, maintenance does not show up or complete the work, residents don’t play nice or follow the rules, it’s bound to happen. A manager looks into the problem, identifies the source, places blame, reports this back to the annoyed person, and solves the issue by putting the blame where it should go, issue solved. No problem with this as that solves the problem and the manager has managed. “I’m sorry your invoice was not paid, it must have been lost by accounting or the mailman, but you should get a check soon”.
A leader, on the other hand, looks into the issue, identifies the source and the cause, reports back to the client and takes full blame for the issue themselves and explains the steps in the process that are fixed so it does not happen inn the future. The leader knows they are responsible for those under them, to insure money is credited, and invoices are paid, and looks for ways to better monitor the situation to prevent a recurrence, all the while insulating their workers from blame. “I apologize you were not paid, I should have done a better job watching for your invoice to come through once I knew the job was completed. Next time send me a “CC” copy of the invoice as well as accounting and I will put a note to watch for your invoices once the jobs are completed”
So what about you? Just because your job title is Manager-are you a manager or a leader?