“You should manage by the book, but you must lead from the heart.”

“Being in authority is like being a lady. If you have to remind people you are, you probably aren’t”
​​​​​​​​ Margaret Thatcher
​​​​​​​​ Prime Minister, Great Britain

Google assigned their HR Department to identify and rate the attributes of their best and most respected leaders. Surprised to find that technical knowledge ranked last. Instead, listening well and allowing team members make the “big decisions” attracted and kept the best people.

Times of crisis and overwhelming challenges does not require a genius or expert, but managers with average skills and experience to manage by the book and great leaders who provide leadership from the heart. Organizations die every day because those responsible for its survival confuse the two.

Great leadership is making fewer decisions without losing or compromising your influence. It’s also retiring your “expert” management skills and asking more and better questions. Stated opinions will never test the wisdom and logic of an idea like well-thought-out questions.

Asking questions always generates better discussions in identifying problems and solutions than making statements. Negotiations always begin after the first statement is made in any conversation.

Great leaders never hesitate to set the course in what seems to be an unsolvable disagreement, but only as a last resort. The best decisions are made after getting the input of the brightest minds closest to the challenge and most effected by the decision.

Shared leadership always produces better decisions and a stronger bond on the leadership team. Gifted people want opportunities to lead and not be managed by being told what to do. They want to accept the challenge and figure out the solution. When you do otherwise you hinder their development and stifle their creativity at best, or worse, you watch them walk away in search of another leader to follow.

You want your managers following the manual in solving today’s challenges. However, you want your leadership team to ask more and better questions. The first makes sure all the bases are covered and today’s goals are met. The second insures better decisions are made and a compelling future is guaranteed.

Your bottom line, results, will always exceed your greatest expectations when you manage the details by the book, regardless of organization, and you provide leadership from from heart for which this is no manual.

If you have to constantly remind people you’re the leader, maybe you aren’t. If you are lost in the weeds managing everyday details I can assure you someone else is leading from their heart, not yours.