How the Great Leaders Lead

How the Great Leaders Lead

Great leaders understand the relationship and value-proposition between people and process. They realize that people and process are inextricably linked and functionally interdependent. It is cause and effect in motion. One seemingly small change in either variable can rather dramatically alter total performance. Therefore, the cause and effect relationship between leadership and management behaviors can significantly impact business results. Understanding the lead vs. manage dynamic is truly profound knowledge.


Leadership is about heart and people potential. Leaders inspire people. They value people first. The leader’s greatest contribution is creating a positive emotional environment for their people. Producing a positive workplace climate activates and energizes the mind’s most potent thinking and action-oriented capabilities. That’s what brings out the best in people. Leaders invest their time, talent and energy helping people grow. As result, people willingly and enthusiastically invest their time, talent and energy helping their organization succeed. Great leaders accept responsibility for discovering the hidden potential in people. This is only possible in organizations where truth prevails, character is upheld and trust remains foundational.


Management is about intellect and process mastery. Managers manage process. They value helping people learn and master their work. We admire and never forget managers who have genuinely helped us improve our performance and become better people. We must remember that people are the company. People own the process. And that all work is a process. Excellent managers focus their people on the things that matter most to achieve the best possible outcome. But only effective leadership can enable effective management.


Three of the most powerful human motivational factors are autonomy, relationships and competence. Employees quickly detect an organization that emphasizes management over leadership. They intuitively know when their efforts are wasteful. The low-value outcomes are obvious. This is the primary source of costly waste in many organizations. It’s a symptom of top-down management that values control over freedom. Great leaders understand the critical difference between healthy organizational boundaries and burdensome overly restrictive policies. They also understand that trust is the greatest human motivator. The secret of 80% Leadership and 20% Management (80/20L) is that 80% of the leader’s effectiveness is produced with only 20% of the leader’s time while delivering 80% high-value work. That’s what paves the way to greater autonomy, relational capacity and competence.


Leaders that put people first and process second create organizations where people achieve more, enjoy more and earn more. When people experience real clarity and purpose in their work — and feel valued above results — work is no longer a job, it’s a calling. When that happens, great innovations and inventions occur.


Complexity is constantly trying to invade and disrupt every organization. Effective leaders are aware that management behavior is naturally stimulated by complexity. Management thinking commonly moves a business in the way of complexity while destroying value in its path. 80/20L leaders keep a constant eye on sustaining progress by keeping their organization focused on the vital few priorities.

Lead more, manage less and thrive.

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