The leader vs. manager dilemma has been going on for decades now. With many companies leaning more towards nurturing leadership and soft skills within their organization, many are raising the question of what differentiates a leader from a manager.
In a utopian world, your manager is also your leader. However, this is not always the case. Here are 5 main key differences between a manager and a leader.
1. Visions vs. Goals
While the core focus of managers is achieving goals, leaders set their eyes on inspiring and motivating people to constantly grow and prosper on a long-term scale. Leaders want to turn their vision into a reality and believe that we can all be part of something bigger. That is why growth and development are constantly stressed by leaders. Whilst managers tend to focus on the task at hand.
2. Leaders take risks
Taking risks is an imperative part for a business to grow. That is why leaders are willing to take risks without the fear of failure daunting them. Because after all, the term “failure” doesn’t exist in the leaders’ dictionary because they refer to such incidents as “learning experiences” which they learn from in order to reach the desired objectives . Managers on the other hand opt to play it safe and avoid risks or problems.
3. Innovation is the mantra of leaders
A key differentiator between leaders and managers is innovation. In a fast changing world, leaders are fumed by curiosity. Therefore, they always think outside the box and embrace change, because they believe with change comes greater and better results. Furthermore, leaders believe that there is no right way to do things, and thus they turn to innovation and new ways to solve problems. On the other hand, we have managers who play it by the book and solely focus on improving conventional processes.
4. Leaders guide, managers direct
To be able to inspire people, leaders believe in their employees and know for a fact that they can make a difference. Leaders are supportive and give employees the space they need to evolve. However, managers on the other hand, tend to instruct employees what to do and how to do it, rather than giving them the space they need to come with a solution on their own.
5. Leaders are empathetic
There is no denying that numbers and processes are important, however there is more to a business than just that. At the core of any business lie its people. A true leader will attempt to know and understand their employees, because they’re fully aware of how crucial it is to build healthy relationships with their subordinates. An immense part of being an inspiring leader has to do with understanding and addressing peoples’ emotional and mental states, and that is why it is essential for a leader to be empathetic. When a problem arises for instant, a leader will try to understand the employee’s circumstances and point of view first, rather than jump to conclusions and potentially fire the employee.
In short, leaders are inspiring individuals that people look up to instead of run away from.
And now that you know the main differences between a leader and a manager, which category you’d put yourself in?