I just completed a month of training "Management & Leadership Skills for Women" for Pryor Learning Solutions in the Northeastern U.S. and I noted an interesting difference in the mindset of my class attendees. Some students focused on management skill development as the key to their professional success, while others believed that leadership development is their most important ability, to develop themselves individually and those they supervise.
We discussed the difference in being a Manager vs. a Leader as it applies to the type of power they have in their organizations. Formal power comes from a position of authority, a job title, their place in the organizational hierarchy, e.g. being a "Manager." Informal power comes from relationships, influence, mentoring and motivational communication, and is demonstrated by how you are a Leader for yourself and others. Mastering informal power is the strongest indicator of your leadership effectiveness, and is the focus of that class, because you can be a Great Leader without being a Manager, but you cannot be a Great Manager without being an effective Leader.
I recently found more support for this idea from a book that I am now reading for my doctoral program, "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success -- How we can learn to fulfill our potential" by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. She discusses that most managers/CEOs become bosses, not leaders, wielding their organizational (formal) power instead of transforming themselves and their workers (by leading with their informal power). Why? Dr. Dweck states that managers learn their job duties and once those skills are mastered, they cease to value learning when they feel content that they know their position. Leaders value constant learning and development of leadership ability for themselves and others, this is why subordinates want to follow them as their leader, not just do what they are told by their manager. Organizations that value the development of ability create new leaders, whereas organizations that grow managers develop non-learning bosses.
My focus and joy in leadership training is growing leaders who value lifelong learning and develop organizations to have a "culture of development" (Dweck, Mindset, p. 142). In my professional experience, people leave bosses, not jobs, because they are not being developed and all human beings need to keep growing. Contact me with your thoughts on this or my other blog articles and please let me know of any other topics you'd like to see more about!