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Welcome to Merge's Monthly Mega Minute - a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success.

Are you a thermometer, or a thermostat?

One question I get asked a lot is “What is the difference between management and leadership?”  Which is not surprising, given that my leadership development consultancy is called “Turning Managers Into Leaders.”  If any of you have attended my live sessions, you’ve heard me give the answer many times.  Which is:

Management is what you do, leadership is how you do it.

Good managers are accomplished at getting tasks done, checking things off their to-do lists, attaining results.  All of which are commendable, and necessary.  Excellent leaders are skillfully talented in accomplishing the same outcomes, but through others.  So it’s not just about getting it done, it’s about how they get it done – through other people; by tapping into the energy and potential of employees who are motivated, high-performing ambassadors for your brand.

Another way I often describe the difference between the two is that managers are like thermometers and leaders are like thermostats.  Let me explain.

A thermometer measures the temperature in the environment.  It can tell you what the temperature is right now.  It gives you the information you need to determine whether it is warmer or colder today than it was yesterday, or the month before, or the month prior to that. 

A thermostat goes further.  It can actually influence the environment.  If it is too hot, it can take action to cool things down, and if it is too cold, it can do the opposite.  It knows what temperature it wants it to be, and it can take concrete deliberate steps to get there.

Now consider managers versus leaders.  Managers can assess the current team environment.  They can measure and report on current results compared to the past, or to targets and expectations.  They usually have a very good handle on what is happening right now.  Which is needed, and quite frankly, very important.

But leaders take it further.  They are able to influence the team environment.  They can create change in organizations.  Not by changing people (because you can’t change another person), but by creating a team environment in which employees are inspired and given the necessary tools, and therefore choose to take actions to excel.  Because leaders focus on the “how”, the vast majority of their employees are highly-motivated and above-average performers. Leaders don’t just look at the present, they also actively focus on the future.  And they accomplish those future results by thoughtfully and deliberately developing their people.

So, are you a thermometer, or have you made the transition to thermostat?  If it’s easier to reflect on someone else, think about someone you previously or currently reported to.  Was s/he a thermometer, or a thermostat?    I’d love to hear from you.  Tell us more about your experiences, and why, by adding your comment directly on the blog at

Merge’s regular columns in The Globe are back!

If this sounds familiar, then yes, you’ve seen it before.  Earlier this fall, we announced Merge was back after her short hiatus from writing for The Globe, and we expected Merge’s article to go to print sometime in September.   Unfortunately, we ran into a couple of unexpected challenges, and it took a little longer than expected.  Her first column is ready to go live, we’re just waiting for her editor at The Globe to flip the switch.  And we anticipate that it will happen later this month.  We’ll keep you posted!  But in the meantime, why don’t you take a quick scan of the great learning content she has for leaders in our Article Archives, which includes her columns for The Globe, as well as for other publications. 

Turning Managers Into Leaders

That Merge has a YouTube channel chock-full of useful leadership tips?

Over 100 easy, actionable tips, each about 2-3 minutes long, on a variety of topics that are important to leaders.  This year’s series is on building resiliency in your employees, but there are series on leading hybrid and virtual teams, productivity, developing and growing your employees, motivating employees, and leading change, among others.  Available to you 24-7, and at no charge! The easiest way to access this valuable collection of video strategies is directly from our site. Go to our Videos page in our Free Tool section and you'll see short descriptions and links to all of Merge's video series. Or subscribe to Merge's YouTube channel and you'll get notified every time a new video is posted, which often happens even before they're even announced to the public!  

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New and Notable Blog Posts Did You Know