John Maxwell says that leaders develop leaders. This makes leaders very different from managers.

As a leader you do still have to manage people, but more importantly as a leader, you have the ability and insight on how to cultivate other leaders. Although someone may be great at their skill and have a lot of qualifications and is able to manage a team, that does not automatically make them a great leader.

Someone's character is so important when it comes to whether or not a person is a leader. Someone’s ability to communicate with people, inspire people, cast a vision and motivate people to follow a larger dream, and the ability to raise people up to be leaders themselves - these are all character traits that go beyond someone’s trained skills. These traits go way beyond simply managing a team of people.

Managers are not always respected or followed or effective with their team. You can see this distinction between a leader and manager during a crisis. When a crisis happens, and the person in charge has to make tough decisions, the one leading the team has to be respected by the people that report to them. They have to be trusted by their team. Their team has to trust that their leader is going to make decisions that is in the best interest of their longterm future.

People think that just because they can quote terminology, or go to a conference and glean information about leadership, or smack a title in front of their name, that they can be a leader. You are fit to lead when the people that work for you look to you and trust you as a leader to develop them as leaders themselves. A strong manager is someone who develops a team of great managers. You want to be able to trust that you are teaching them how to be at their best.

If you want to do a better job with your leadership development, focus on character traits. How do you develop people who are better communicators? Better problem solvers? Who are able to work in challenging situations? And how do you inspire the people that work for you? How do you gain the trust of those who work for you where they believe and know that you are there to serve them?

Leadership is a big roll. It’s a lot of responsibility. You know if you are suffering from a lack of leadership. Look for leaders in unlikely places. Look at the kid who walks to work, who is working two jobs to pay for school, who stands in when no one else will volunteer. Look at the character traits of your team and learn how to hone in on those who have leadership within them. Cultivate that leadership, develop and push those on your team who have what it takes to help lead your business.

Remember - there is an important difference between leadership and management. Don’t miss out on developing those in your organization who can be effectively leading with you. And continually develop and grow yourself as an effective and inspiring leader for your team.

- David L. Joyner and the Joyner Media & Strategies Team