It always come to my mind..am I performing as a Manager or a Leader? My experience as a Consultant in Malaysian Employers Federation for six years (2001-2007) really thought me to be a leader, but I never realized it! Why I did not realize it? I believe it is due to my lack of understanding of what makes me as a leader, and what make me as a manager.
Folks, I used to think that for me to be a manager and a leader, I must be a supervisor whom supervise a subordinate!! It’s wrong….you can be a leader to your clients..you can be a manager to your customer…and the most important thing is…you are the manager for yourself!!!
I only started to realized the characteristics of leaders truly when entering into the world of Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad, and definitely I would like to thank to Mazri Abd Rahim, being a person that I always admire him to be a leader. But it does not mean that I have to copy whatever of his character and instill it 100% to myself. Anyway, constructive feedback from him made me different than yesterday!
In addition to that, another points contribute me be a leader was the postgraduate study in UUM. Some of you may not realize it, but if you really read the text book, participate in the class, express your ideas to classmates as well as lecturers, we could see whether is there any talent for leadership which is still unborn and keep in our soul.
Taking about leader and managers, what are separate a leader from the rest of the manager?Are leadership qualities intrinsics to an individual or can they be taught, developed or nurtured over time?
I always have an understanding that a leader need to Innovate, Inspire, Excite or Provide clear vision to others. They hold and believe in a vision and , just as importantly, have the self-belief and conviction to communicate to others.
While a manager can implement process, monitor performance, set business goals and objectives and generally take care of the day-t0-day needs of their staff. However, achievement authentic leadership takes more than textbook management skills.
How to be an Aspiring Leader? One of the best way to ‘look outsider’ is to observe leaders within our organization who have traits we would like to emulate, and who have nurtured their careers to achieve the success you desire. For example, my current employer, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad, I could see two persons have strong leadership qualities, i.e. the Managing Director, Bas van dan Berg, and HR Director, Mazri Abd Rahim. Both of them really inspire me as to characteristics of being a leader.
My advice to me as well as other managers who wish to become outstanding leaders, there needs to be a different and more scientific approach to management development, one that shows measurable results and ultimately has a positive impact on the bottom line. The utmost important for us is to embrace the latest techniques of human leadership development. The price of not doing this we will just become a MANAGER, and not a LEADER.