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What's the difference between a manager and a leader?
Jennifer Hill, a seasoned financial leader, has held senior leadership positions with some top global financial institutions and, in her current role as chief financial officer for Global Banking and Global Markets with Bank of America, she's learned a thing or two about managing others, and what leadership is - and isn't.
Hill recently packed many of those lessons into an enlightening five-minute kickoff keynote for my Poised for Leadership workshop in New York City.
'When I think about the qualities I admire most in leaders, three words come to mind,” she shared with 35 workshop participants. 'They are responsibility, accountability and decisiveness.”
Hill also stressed that we shouldn't confuse leadership with management.
'There is a big difference,” she said. 'I have been led by some great people and I'd been micromanaged by some horrible people,” she admitted.
Here are five lessons on leading, not managing, that Hill learned from the best leaders she has worked with.
1. Listen more and speak less
Hill pointed out that being a good listener and hearing the thoughts and inspirations of others can help you, even when you're the one in charge. And, she added, 'People feel good when they feel heard.”
2. Consensus is good but …
Leading by consensus will rally a team around a common goal, but according to Hill, that alone is not enough to be a leader and create change.
'Consensus is good but direction and decisiveness create action,” she emphasized. 'You must guide consensus.”
3. Anyone can identify a problem, a leader is part of the solution
'Leaders don't sit around and complain about what's wrong,” Hill said. They drive solutions and deliver results.
'They figure out how to make it right,” she added.
4. Apologize publicly and gloat privately
True leaders don't just don't just praise publicly and criticize privately.
'You don't see leaders bragging about their success,” Hill said. 'They talk about their team and their team's contributions. And if they feel really good about themselves, they do it at home or with a close friend but not publicly.”
A leader also will apologize and take accountability their actions.
5. Don't be afraid to have tough conversations
'It's very easy to praise somebody. It's easy to give somebody a raise or a good review,” she said.
It can be much harder, however, to have the tough conversations.
While admitting that this might sound like a harsh thing to say, Hill pointed out that not everyone does an outstanding job all the time.
'You've got to tell them, and then you've got to move on,” she acknowledged.
Her parting words for the group were filled with encouragement to strive to be a leader and not just a manager.
'Learn to inspire and motivate as opposed to dictate,” Hill said. 'At the end of the day, good leaders often don't do the work, but they make you feel like they did.”
' Jo Miller is founding editor of BeLeaderly.com and CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching Inc. Twitter handle: @jo_miller