Many managers make the mistake of thinking that a managerial position automatically means that they're a leader. However, there's a distinction between managing people and leading them. Understanding the difference can make a significant impact on your career growth.
Managers Direct, Leaders Inspire
Managers typically have a strategy to achieve specific desired results. They reach their goals by setting certain standards for employees and creating solutions that reach targeted objectives.
Leaders, on the other hand, seek to achieve goals through inspiring others. When mentoring and detaching, leaders ignite passion in their mentees and coach them into turning their vision into reality. While leaders may have the same goals as managers, the difference here is that leaders encourage shared vision in their mentees.
Leaders Adapt; Managers Rely On Experience
Leaders are innovative and show their strength during times of chaos or difficulty. They think outside the box and seek creative solutions for unusual circumstances. On the other hand, managers tend to follow tried-and-true approaches to challenges and rely on their past experience to solve problems.
Leaders offer innovative decision-making, while managers may be resistant to change.
Managers Repeat Proven Skills, While Leaders Seek To Learn
Like successful entrepreneurs, visionary leaders are eager to learn new things, broaden their worldview, and increase their expertise. They embrace challenges and are open-minded to trying new things. Most importantly, they aren't afraid to fail.
Managers typically rely on proven strategies and repeat the same methods that have worked in the past. While their existing knowledge may solve their daily problems or produce consistent results, there's no room for growth or innovation.
Managers Build Procedures, Leaders Network
Leaders build a network of peers that support their vision – a visionary safety net if you will. Everyone on the team shares the leader's vision, and the leader, in turn, often communicates with the team, sometimes leading from the middle. This environment of trust and support often helps the entire team in the long run.
Managers, however, build the "bones" of the system, creating procedures and structure to support the leader's vision or the company goals. While they may communicate as often as leaders with other teams, managers may also directly achieve outcomes. They ensure that all the tools are in place and Best Practices to get to the desired results.
Managers Have Employees; Leaders Have Fans
Leaders' inspiration, encouragement, and motivation result in a team that's more than just a group with the same goals. Leaders create trust and bonds with their followers and have a community passionate about achieving a shared dream. In the long run, the support and loyalty from the fans and followers may end up with results that go beyond the initial scope of the vision.
While they may have loyal employees and work hard because they're inspired, managers tend to focus more on enforcing procedures, delegating, and providing direction for a business or organization. The followers and employees follow the direction because it's their job, not because the manager's charisma inspires them. As long as the manager delivers results, they're successful.
Characteristics of a leader and a manager together can often achieve both business growth and innovation. The best business owners combine the charisma of a leader with the effectiveness and precision of a good manager. Efficient managers can often help support a leader's dreams by providing the mechanisms to achieve them. The best organizations combine the skills of both.