Being a manager does not automatically make you a leader, but most good leaders end up in managerial positions. So then, what is a leader? What is a manager? Most often in business the two labels are used interchangeably, but is that always correct? Here are what each are and the differences between the two.
Let’s start with definition differences, to lead is to show the way to a destination by going in front or beside them. Whereas to manage is simply to be in charge of something. There is a clear difference in what the words mean, so what does this mean in practice?
Leaders innovate and managers improve processes
Leaders are not afraid to step outside the box and get creative when attempting to achieve their vision. They are not afraid to try new things, even if failure is an option because it is used as a learning experience. Leaders also recognize their need to improve and constantly work on improving themselves.
Managers try to organize and refine their workers to accomplish their goals. They focus on the process of what is happening to improve instead of changing completely.
Leaders create a vision and mangers set goals
Leaders understand how to have a vision in mind and to inspire those around them to see the vision and work towards it.
Managers set goals that you can see results and monitor processes of. These goals are detailed and include steps to accomplish the goal.
Leaders build trust and managers rely on control
Leaders work hard to create relationships and trust with those that they work with. They are good at motivating and inspiring others to buy into a process.
Managers rely on hierarchy and their ability to tell those under them what to do to get their goals attained. They tend to build processes and systems that work and stick with the status quo.
Both leaders and mangers focus on their people and listening to what they have to say and respond appropriately.
Leaders focus on the “what” and “why” and managers focus on the “how” and “when”
Leaders focus on what they can do better and why something did or did not work. This goes back to leaders innovating and not being afraid to take chances to improve situations.
Managers focus on how they will accomplish their goals and when they will be done. They use the how and when aspects to create detailed timelines and guides for how employees should act, while constantly measuring progress.
Although leaders and managers have many of the same skills, the main difference is that leaders inspire, motivate, and encourage those that work for them or with them to buy into whatever dream leaders have set out to gain. While employees follow managers’ orders simply because they work below the manager in a hierarchical format.
Both leaders and managers are crucial to a company but remember, anyone can be a leader not just someone in an authority position. Now if you can find great leaders to put in your management positions, your company will find success.
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