MARCO ISLAND, FL —Naomi J. Hardy, a life coach and change advisor, noticed one common theme throughout her 25-year career in human resources: there is a big difference between managing and leading.

During her presentation at the BEMA Convention: Workforce Edition, Hardy shared her favorite strategies for enhancing leadership and how her exclusive PIVOT formula can help empower a team for the better. These lessons are crucial for HR professionals — but also executives, salespeople and marketers — to get ahead of what’s about to happen as employees start returning to the office.


So, what is the difference between a leader and a manager?

“The true function of a leader is to take an employee to the place where they are driving and motivating themselves,” Hardy said. “The ability to organize people to accomplish tasks can be a great asset in the human resources profession. But we’re talking about going higher and going to the next stage. Being able to inspire your teams and employees through change, rather than manage them through it, has infinite rewards.”

According to Hardy, influence and inspiration — not power and control — elevate managers to leaders. She urged attendees to start that transformation today, then shared a roadmap of what shifting those values could look like.

  • Instead of coping with complexity, working with the status quo and asking “what,” try coping with change, challenging the status quo and asking “why.”
  • Instead of planning short-term, organizing and controlling people, try planning long-term, aligning people and motivating them.
  • Instead of focusing on structures, following the vision and working in the present, try focusing on people, communicating the vision and looking into the future.

“The true function of a leader is to take an employee to the place where they are driving and motivating themselves," Hardy said.


Hardy created the PIVOT formula to encapsulate these ideas: P+(IxV)+(O2+T2) = PIVOT. Then she documented it, tested how it worked, used it and continues to share it today. Here’s the breakdown.

  • Permission. We must first give ourselves permission to move from a manager to a leader, knowing it won’t be comfortable.
  • Intelligence and Values. We must bring them together to tackle problems.
  • Overcome Obstacles. By putting intelligence and values together, a mindset shift begins to happen. You will start to see that obstacles bring opportunities to strengthen you and your workforce.
  • Troubled Times. On the other side of every obstacle is another opportunity, and the lessons learned will sustain your workforce during the troubled times.

This formula is especially relevant for the current, post-pandemic workforce conditions.

“People are going to be able to pick where and how they want to work,” Hardy said. “We need to recruit, retain and uplift people to want to stay. It can’t just be about salary. One of the things we all know is how you make a person feel in the workplace is key to how they perform. The money will help, but how they are treated and respected speaks volumes to the bottom line.”


While Hardy focused on HR professionals during her presentation, she explained that this advice is applicable to anyone, anywhere.

“There is not one person here who hasn’t envisioned a way for their organization to function better,” Hardy said. “And being a leader means translating vision into reality.”

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