A Leader Pulls, a Manager Pushes


A Leader Pulls, a Manager Pushes

Carmen Donnell

Managing Director, North America, Pay by Phone.

A leader is someone who inspires those around them to be passionate about their work, and who creates a vision for their team. They provide the pathways for their team to be successful and encourage creative thinking to hit goals. Leaders are more interested in the health and success of their team members, than they are of themselves. Leaders understand that if their team is working like a well-oiled machine, they too will inherently be more successful as a result. 

A leader pulls and a manager pushes. One person often must do both things depending on the people who are on their team, but a leader will always be working towards having a group that they can pull, vs. one that they must push. 

I am a question asker by nature, both internally of myself and externally to those around me. I always want to learn new things, to know more, to see things from a broader perspective. This helps me to feel refreshed regularly and offers me an opportunity for growth and change. When I am in a position of being able to grow and change or have an impact on those around me to growth and change, I am naturally motivated as result. 

There is an unfortunate abundance of poor leadership. I have personally had the opportunity to work for some wonderful leaders, and have learned a lot from them; and some extremely poor ones, too, where I have also learned a lot! Today, across a lot of sectors, we see employees changing jobs and roles more quickly than we have in the past. 

This is where true leadership is needed: to inspire future goals, lights at the end of tunnels, however frequently leaders miss the mark or don’t take on the opportunity to do so. Often times leaders are of a different generation than those they are leading. Or, they are leading a multi-generational work force, which also creates challenges. And now we have an entirely different looking workplace with most entities accepting some sort of hybrid approach – which creates new leadership challenges.; How you inspire and lead effectively through Zoom?! 

If the C-suite has an unclouded vision, strong goals and values, and has the ability to inspire that top down in an organization, the entire health of the group will be much higher and performance will naturally follow. A C-suite that is unwilling to grow, change, share and inspire will create a poor situation even if the staff they are leading is fantastic. Mediocre staff can be exceptional with great leadership, just like exceptional staff can be mediocre with poor leadership. 

Alison Levine – I first ‘met’ her at a previous employer’s company event years ago where she was brought in for an hour-long keynote to the staff and clients. In that short hour she affected me more than I thought possible. Alison is at her core a mountain climber – she has authored books on leadership and is now a motivational speaker as well. Her examples of failure creating success, how one must walk backwards to move forwards more quickly, and to plan for failure and anticipate it have been incredibly inspirational for me. Her successes and failures led to a small obsession with mountaineering in me, especially around her experiences on Everest. It is now on my bucket list to volunteer one season at base camp… all of this launched from one hour! 

I have studied Project Aristotle, created by Google, at length. It incorporates five main ‘dynamics’ that come together to make successful teams. They include Psychological Safety (feeling comfortable taking chances, speaking out, sharing ideas without risk of shame or retaliation], Dependability, Structure and Clarity, Meaning, and lastly, Impact. When these five areas of a team are healthy – Aristotle’s quote, and where this project started from, comes to life: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

If I could sing, I think being a professional singer or dancer would be the best job around. Music and dance are inspiring, it is fun, it is sad, and to move people towards these emotions must be really intense. Seeing that I cannot sing or dance, another dream job would be a travel blogger. I love to travel, to experience new cultures, religions, foods. And to then get paid to do so? Incredible. However, I am really excited to continue advancing my leadership skills and current career advancement opportunities, and do not plan to stop this trajectory any time soon. 

There is an unfortunate abundance of poor leadership

Her examples of failure creating success, how one must walk backwards to move forwards more quickly, to plan for failure and anticipate it have been incredibly inspirational. //

Carmen Donnell, CAPP is Managing Director, North America, Pay by Phone.

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Carmen Donnell
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