In an old Pizza Hut commercial, Deion Sanders, who was juggling multiple positions in both the National Football League and Major League Baseball at the time, responds to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ questions, “Football or baseball?” and “Offense or defense?” by answering “Both!”
When Jones also asks “So what’ll it be Deion, $15…20 million?” Sanders pauses to think it over, and says, “Umm…Both.”
With regard to the age-old question of whether you are a good manager or leader, it is probably best if you can follow “Prime Time’s” lead. Unfortunately, many business professionals and entrepreneurs don’t realize “Both” is the right answer.
Good managers tend to be organized, focused and detail oriented. They have formal authority over subordinates. Exceptional leaders are able to develop and articulate their vision and provide direction for the organization. They have formal and informal authority over followers.
Since the skill sets and philosophical approach are so different, it is a challenge to be proficient at both managing and leading.
Managers sometimes struggle to see the big picture beyond their area of responsibility. They are often risk-averse and resistant to change and new ideas.
Some leaders neglect details and lack the patience necessary during times of change. They expect transformation to occur too quickly and do not allow their teams to work at a pace necessary for success.
An opportunity exists if managers and leaders can realistically assess their strengths and weaknesses in both areas. Managers need to be more open to change and willing to take risks. Leaders have to delegate details to people they trust and be more patient with the pace of change.
So where do you focus your energies, on managing or leading?
Make sure your answer is truly the same as Deion’s was in the pizza commercial.