Henry Kissinger once said “the task of a leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” Using this definition there are plenty of people with leadership in their titles who are not leading. They are simply administering a legacy they inherited.
Equally, there are plenty of people lower in organisations who are making change and leading people to where they have not been. They may not have the title but they are leading. This means that leadership is not about your position, it is about what you do.
Calling everyone a leader may appeal to their sense of importance or seniority, but it devalues the idea of leadership. If everyone is a leader, who is being led and in how many different directions?
Calling everyone a leader also devalues management, and in today’s heavily regulated business world effective management is essential. Failure to have efficient and effective systems which provide accurate data on time and ensure regulatory compliance, can be disastrous. Those who show that they can manage well need to be recognised and valued.
Everyone can learn to lead just as everyone can learn to manage. Many of the skills are similar. However, whilst leaders push for radical change, which is not always ideal, managers strive to ensure steadier improvements.
In the old world, managers had to make things happen through other people. Now they have to make things happen through people they often do not control. That changes everything, making management harder than ever. Now is the time to value it properly.