• The Differences Between Leaders And Managers
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The Differences Between Leaders And Managers

Leaders And Managers

Steve Jobs was known to be a great leader, not a great manager. That is pretty common for someone who is visionary, thinks differently and wants to focus on innovations rather than someone who is tactical and strives to keep the company (and staff) working. While people may use leaders and managers interchangeably, the two terms connote very different abilities and responsibilities.

Leaders and managers are not often the same people, but both should be present for a company to grow and prosper. Managers tell employees what to do, whereas leaders inspire them to do it. Not all great leaders can manage a department; likewise, not all managers can influence and motivate others like great leaders can. A manager’s job is to get things done on time and within budget.

A Task Record Versus Talent

Companies often post job openings for managers when they are really looking for leaders. As one member of the Forbes Coaches Council phrased it: “Manager is a title. It is a role and a set of responsibilities. Having the position of manager does not make you a leader … Leadership is the result of action.”

As a result, it is far easier for HR or others to define responsibilities for someone accountable for leading or managing an organization or department than true leadership skills. Likewise, you can craft your resume and taut a track record as a great manager or even executive.

But leadership skills, expertise and success are harder to specify and recount with sincerity. That said, managers who aspire to be good leaders should know which qualities they possess or need to improve to make the transformation an effective one.

Personal Power Versus Position Power

The traditional description of a manager’s role is someone who guides a function or area. That may involve deciding who should perform what role, like a sports team, and when to keep things going. Leaders, on the other hand, may allow people to decide how best to support the efforts because a leader ensures everyone is pulling together to accomplish goals. Additionally, leaders transcend title; they exude personal power versus position power.

A Harvard Business Review piece described this as “counting value versus creating value.” Managers make sure their staff gets things done and manage the work output. Leaders think of ways to exceed expectations and encourage people to accomplish more, even outside of their immediate hierarchy. The more people who turn to you for advice, inspiration and support who are not in your immediate work area, the more likely it is that they see you as a leader, regardless of your actual role.

Some people assume their position entitles them to be a leader. However, true leaders do not command loyalty or threaten people to “encourage” them to follow in their wake. Leaders trust their instincts and have faith in others.

Other Traits And Responsibilities That Differ

Resourceful Manager posted an Infographic in 2016 comparing the traits that differentiate between leaders and managers. According to them, most people have aspects of both:

  • Managers tell people what to do and how; plan details and duties; stick to plans and strive to fix problems that arise; establish a script for staff to follow; and command respect and adherence.
  • Conversely, leaders sell people on what to do; challenge the status quo to forge new paths; break rules; foster ideas; see problems as opportunities for course corrections; and inspire others to follow their lead and adopt their vision.

Self-motivated people and work groups do not always need a manager. They may resent the idea that they need managing, or any attempt to exercise unwelcome authority. In other groups, leaders naturally emerge because of their personality and ideas, even if they are not officially in charge.

Recognizing Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Strong leaders and managers are both needed in growing a business from the onset and at critical times. A pragmatic approach for business owners who know their strengths and weaknesses is to hire experts, such as HJR Global, that are adept at hatching successful firms and turning around failing companies. They can help fill the gap, which would lead to discernible results for your business.

Additionally, people who are self-aware and honest with themselves (and others) about their shortcomings can grow in their role. Experience is a great teacher for leaders and managers. Likewise, challenging situations as a company encounters new threats, markets, supply issues and such are a great litmus test. However, someone wanting to improve as either a leader or manager may welcome working on improvement in less challenging times.

Consultants who offer a neutral and objective outside perspective can coach someone who is a strong manager and help the individual grow into a respected leader, and vice versa. They can also offer properly structured human resources assistance and advice to deal with personnel development and setting goals for your business.

HJR Global provides educational resources to business owners looking for helpful information and advice. For more information, contact HJR Global.