By Michael Holland     

There was a distinct moment when my first child was born that I awakened to the full weight of being a father.  Before that moment of birth, I intellectually understood that I was becoming a father.  But upon birth and holding my child in my arms I became distinctly aware of the awesome yet enormous responsibility I had the privilege of accepting.  I could be a man who had a kid or I could become a father.

On the 952nd day of an emerging leader’s life in the role of managing others they come to a fork in the road.  A moment in time when they are awakened to the enormous difference between being a manager and being a leader.  In this single day they have the opportunity to decide – or better yet to choose – how they engage with their role.  They can take a path of an entitled manager or they can become a leader.   Here are four illuminations of the choice you have to make.

  • You will be sitting in a meeting lost in thought about a recent conversation with an employee regarding a significant performance issue and you will either 1) be an entitled manager who will simply follow the prescribed performance doctrine or 2) become a leader who will creatively find a way to coach up the employee to a higher performance.
  • You will be preparing for your weekly staff meeting and either 1) be an entitled manager who pulls up last week’s agenda as you’ve done for the last 189 weeks to slightly adjust the wording of items 4 and 5 or 2) become a leader who texts all team members to meet you at the front door where you’ll take them on a walking meeting.
  • You will be mulling over the inability of your team to be motivated to increase their productivity and either 1) continue as an entitled manager who uses positional power and legal authority to rule over employees mustering them to work harder or 2) become a leader who will invest in “earning the right” to lead your employees by gaining their permission to lead them.
  • You will be preparing annual performance reviews and either 1) be an entitled manager who copies and pastes 98% of last year’s review into this year’s or 2) you will become a leader who pulls together all the notes you’ve collected in Evernote (see New Take on Tracking Employee Performance) throughout the year and craft a storyline and coaching document.

For 951 days you’ve had the opportunity to work as a manager.  On this day, you have the opportunity to choose how you want to proceed.  Being a leader is a privilege provided to you but the role must be accepted as an honorable role given the influence you can have on employees.

Choose well at this fork in the road.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Is your boss more of the entitled manager or the leader?  How does this impact you?
  • Where are you on the time horizon of 952 days in the role?  Have you experienced one of the illuminations listed?
  • Would you describe yourself as an entitled manager? Why or why not?