For those of us who have toiled under ineffective managers, it’s safe to say that managing and leading are two very different things.
While managers have many of the responsibilities of leaders — executing processes, supervising teams and achieving goals — their purview is more nuts and bolts. “It’s about being on top of projects, having the right people on the right jobs and keeping the tactical work flowing in and out,” says Brian McPeak, vice president, communications and public relations for Rohm & Haas Company, a Philadelphia-based global supplier to the specialty materials industry. This isn’t to denigrate the critical importance of management excellence. Leaders’ visions can’t come to life unless they have talented managers on staff with the proven ability to make things happen.
And leading is exactly that — having a vision and inspiring others to execute that vision. Our profession must develop these abilities among the current and next generation in order to secure our proper place in the C-suite and at the forefront of a communications industry that’s changing with unprecedented speed.
For this reason, making the leap from manager to leader may be the most important move in one’s PR career. Experts agree on nine actions people moving into leadership positions can take to become true leaders: articulate the values, create a vision, build trust, provide inspiration, act courageously, share the credit, establish empathy, be open and empower the team.