Info-entrepreneurs, represented by the Association of Independent Information Professionals, stand out as innovative, forward thinking, and client focused information professionals. This series of posts delivers future ready solutions and strategies from current and past presidents of AIIP. As industry thought leaders they have much to share about staying ahead of the curve and delivering cost effective solutions to clients worldwide. In this insightful series of postings readers will learn how to create a job for life by listening for opportunity, watching for changes, stretching to acquire new skills, finding a balance, planning for the long term, and drawing on your strengths. - C.S.
by Marge King
Management and leadership gurus as well as sociologists and psychologists have discussed and debated the differences between management and leadership for a number of years now. If you follow Peter Drucker, you know that he prefers the term “management” over leadership. But many other scholars believe there are subtle but very real differences between the two roles. Management is all about exercising administrative, supervisory, and executive direction to a group of people or an organization. Leadership, on the other hand, is a process where an individual influences a group of people to achieve a common goal. The two roles are not mutually exclusive, though.
SLA and AIIP members, in general, have superb technical skills, a key ingredient to being a competent and successful manager. But having technical skills is not the only piece; to be truly effective as a manager we also need to have conceptual (the ability to see opportunities and/or work with ideas and concepts) and interpersonal skills. Leadership requires us to develop broader and deeper interpersonal skills—become effective coaches and to be empathic, good listeners, inspiring, while being willing to delegate tasks and give recognition to others. Leadership also requires us to expand our conceptual skills to establish direction, clarity, and vision to influence others to achieve a common goal.
We are often presented with opportunities to hone our management skills, but generally it is up to us, as individuals, to seek out leadership roles. So how does one find leadership opportunities? The answer is simple: Volunteer. Several years ago Women’s Way conducted a study that showed critical business skills like problem solving, coaching/mentoring, and public speaking are developed and improved through volunteerism. By volunteering for a leadership role for small projects or even unpopular or tough projects, you can develop your leadership skills and visibility. If your corporate setting doesn’t have any leadership opportunities available for you, look for committee or board positions in your favorite professional association or local nonprofit.
Aside from connecting with your regional nonprofit association, three of my favorite resources for finding volunteer leadership opportunities are:
- Boardnetusa.org: A clearinghouse for matching potential board candidates with nonprofit organizations.
- Opportunityknocks.org: A job site that lists both volunteer and paid positions.
- Volunteermatch.org: A clearinghouse for matching volunteers with nonprofit organizations.
Finally, I recommend that you read Bridgestar’s article on finding a rewarding nonprofit board position.
As your career develops and you consider becoming an information entrepreneur or moving up the ladder in a corporate setting, your leadership skills will help you make the leap with ease and grace.
Marge King is president of InfoRich Group, Inc. (www.inforichgroup.com), a research-based fundraising consulting firm, and current past-president of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (www.aiip.org). In addition to raising millions of dollars for her clients, she has broad experience developing and organizing nonprofit boards and advisory councils. She is a highly–skilled researcher and proposal writer; she is adept at researching individuals, corporations and foundations. She also speaks and writes about contemporary fundraising issues.