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What’s the Secret to Becoming a Leader? Stop Being a Boss

Striving to become a legendary leader? Ditch those management habits -- fast -- and focus on the bigger picture

Source | | Peter Daisyme

Although the difference between managers and leaders appears almost nitpicky at face value, it’s actually quite distinct. The former control the direction of progress through existing and emerging processes; the latter provide vision and inspiration without getting in the trenches. Think of leaders as premium fuel and managers as an efficient engine: Both are necessary to get a sports car from one destination to another. That distinction, however, is darn hard to implement in most companies.

The basic issue is that when strong managers rise to leadership levels, they’re expected to change their way of doing things. But just because they boast a C-suite title doesn’t mean they can let go of their “let’s all roll up our sleeves and dig in” attitude. In fact, many lean on old patterns of managerial behavior, which destroy their ability to adjust. Yet modern leaders must be willing to bury the management habits they honed and become coaches instead.

As Robert Glazer, CEO and founder of Acceleration Partnersnoted in Entrepreneur: “Leading a productive team entails letting go of daily operations to focus on setting a clear strategy and vision — the ‘why’ and ‘what’ — and getting comfortable leaving your team to manage the ‘how.’”

Glazer added that millennials, set to become the largest cohort of U.S. workers by 2019, according to Pew Research Center, are particularly keyed in to how they’re being led from above. Heavy-handedness isn’t appreciated, but motivation is.

The rewards for solid leadership aren’t just anecdotal: Data examined by the Harvard Business Review showed a correlation between exceptional leaders and exceptional workers. In other words, the faster leaders stop managing and focus on leading, the stronger the likelihood of stellar corporate performance. If you yourself are a new , such seemingly small actions can help you ditch some of your manager-focused ways:

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