Many people presume that once they become a manager, it’s a clear sign that they are a leader. But, in reality, that’s not always the case.
The truth is that while all leaders can become managers, not all managers have the skills it takes to become a leader. In fact, there’s a difference between the two.
Leaders are vision-oriented, managers are goal-oriented
The main focus of leaders is creating a vision that inspires employees and gives them a sense of purpose and direction. Leaders show employees what’s possible, encourage them to dream big, and motivate them to become something greater than they envisioned was possible.
Managers are focused on meeting mission objectives. These goals are the steps employees will need to make to turn their manager’s vision into a reality for the organization.
Leaders are disruptors. Managers stick to the norm
Leaders are individuals that welcome and embrace change. They are constantly innovating and inventing ways how to make things better for the organization.
While managers can also develop ideas on how to improve the way things are done in a company, they spend a considerable amount of time analyzing and weighing the pros and cons before deciding.
Leaders are also willing to take risks to reach specific milestones and objectives. Managers will go for the “safer” route, sticking to methods and processes that were effective in the past.
Leaders dare to be different. Managers are content with mimicking what works
Leaders are emotionally intelligent people. Because of that, they’re confident and comfortable with making decisions and defending the choices they make. But, at the same time, they’re not afraid to stand out from everyone else and be different.
Managers are not as brave. Instead, they prefer playing things safe. As such, managers often mirror the behaviors and techniques used by other managers within the organization. Some would stretch it to mimicking the management styles used by successful managers and business leaders from other companies, but that’s as far as they’ll be willing to go.
Leaders take risks; managers avoid risks
Leaders are not afraid to make risky decisions. On the contrary, they thrive in these kinds of situations.
Of course, not all the decisions leaders make turn out to be the right ones. However, that won’t stop them because leaders believe that failure is part of the growth process.
On the other hand, managers understand that they’re expected to deliver positive results. It’s for this very reason why managers are very cautious with every decision they make. Additionally, they take extreme care to monitor the progress of whatever project, campaign, or task assigned to them to ensure everything is going according to plan.
Leaders look at the bigger picture; managers focus on the here and now
Leaders are very passionate and committed to the work they do. Add this to the fact that they are vision-oriented, and it’s not surprising that they tend to focus consistently on long-term goals.
Managers are more focused on achieving short-term goals. Much of this lies in the fact that their jobs depend on it. If they cannot deliver on these short-term goals, it could cause them to get demoted and lose their “leadership” position within the company.
Leaders crave growth. Managers are concerned about sharpening their skills
One of the mantras leaders believes is “if they’re not growing, they’re stagnated.” That’s the reason why they’re constantly innovating. That’s also why they’re still on the move and looking for new opportunities to better themselves.
Managers also strive for improvement. However, instead of trying new things, managers will strive to enhance and develop skills they already possess. They may try to adopt new behaviors, but these again are those that they’ve observed from other successful managers within their industry.
Leaders build relationships. Managers build systems
Leaders spend time building relationships with their colleagues and others. The reason is that they regard relationship building as crucial to the growth and success of the business.
However, managers view the proper systems and processes as essential to profit, growth, and success when it comes to managers. By doing this, they can efficiently delegate tasks. At the same time, these systems and methods are perceived as vital to achieving their goals and objectives.
Leaders mentor, managers direct
Leaders and managers can quickly spot potential among those working under them. However, the way they deal with this is different.
When leaders spot someone working on their team with potential, they take this person under their wing and begin to mentor them. Their goal here is to bring out the best in this person, and they don’t mind if the person becomes better than them.
On the other hand, some managers will feel threatened when someone working on their team has potential. The reason is simple. If they provide opportunities for growth and improvement to this promising employee, they become dispensable.
As such, managers would capitalize on their potential and skills by providing them with numerous tasks. Some managers may provide guidance, but this is limited to accomplishing the tasks they were assigned.
Leaders gain followers. Managers need to control followers
In line with the previous point mentioned, the combination of their focus on relationship building and growth, leaders find themselves surrounded by employees that choose to work with them.
Managers earn their followers as a result of being promoted to their position. Because of this, some employees on the team may have reservations, especially if they feel that they are more deserving. Because of this, many managers have to resort to control to get employees on their team to follow them.
So, are you a manager? Or are you a leader? If you’re still unsure, we can help you find out through our free Discovery session as well as the steps to take to become both a leader and manager. Schedule a call with Coach Margaret today.
More About the Author
By Margaret Williams
Margaret is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Professional Coaching. She’s been coaching women by helping them discover their talents, develop these skills, and manage their stress levels to reach their fullest potential and live their dreams. She’s a Certified Associate Coach with the International Coach Federation and a Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. When she’s not coaching, Margaret reading, listening to music, or lounging at the beach.