Does being called a “leader” mean you are “leading”? What does “leading” mean?

Amazon.com currently sells 13,391 books on leadership. So why are people not leading effectively? Do we make it too complex? The LEADING PRIME defines the act of leading as setting direction, allocating resources, and inspiring action. Any time you are not doing these three things, you are not leading. Now let's put this distinction into context by looking at six words: three nouns and three verbs. First, the nouns:

Leader: A title
Manager: A title
Operator: A title

These three words convey what people are. They do not dictate or even indicate what a person of any given title actually does.

Now let's look at three verbs:

Leading: Setting direction, allocating resources, inspiring action, and being accountable for results
Managing: Balancing capacity with demand and ensuring predictable value is created using an efficient system
Operating: Using the system as designed to produce value

These words convey what people do. They specifically indicate an action. Acting in any of these three ways is not determined by what you are called. Many of us who are called leaders spend most of our time managing and operating. I also see, at times, people who are called managers and operators leading.

Take a moment to highlight the times over the last five days when you were setting direction, aligning ...

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