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Career Thinking: Do You Have to Be A Manager To Be A Leader?

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An account executive is promoted to sales manager. A journalist is promoted to editor. But does the ability to sell translate to motivating a sales team? Does the ability to write great prose translate to managing a team of reporters? When did we get the idea that you have to manage people in order to lead?

The truth is, not everyone wants to be a manager, and you don’t have to manage to lead. Management is a particular skill that involves guiding people with different motivations in the same direction. Leadership has more to do with influence; displaying courage and passion that persuades people to follow your course, whether they’re direct reports or not. As a Talent Acquisition Manager for Dell, I’ve come to recognize the traits that distinguish leaders – independent of their job titles. Individual contributors can cultivate them just as easily as managers.

Social media influence is sure evidence of natural leadership, and the attendant networking provides exposure to new people, ideas, and strategies. Individuals can use social media to promote their corporate and personal brands, as well as build relationships both inside and outside the company – a key tenet of leadership. Networking within your own company can only broaden your view of the corporate ecosystem. You never know which connection will lead to your dream job or create influence in unexpected places.

Continue reading story on Dell’s Forbes page . . .

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Editor’s note: This appeared on Dell’s Forbes page on June 5th – Do You Have to Be a Manager to Be a Leader?

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