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Manager vs. Leader

Manager or Leader – how do YOU want to be viewed?

The response to this question is usually ‘Leader.’ Perhaps it’s human nature to answer in a way that makes us seem bigger. If we answer anything other than Leader, are we diminishing our professional power? Everyone wants to feel in control and influential, right?

Many consider themselves a Leader because of their professional title. Maybe they lead colleagues, a group of people or even a meditation class. Perhaps others view self-management as a qualifying trait worthy of being a Leader.

Regardless of how you label yourself or others, there’s a vast difference between being a Manager and being a Leader. Surveys show that many people, especially those in the workforce don’t view people in ‘leadership roles’ to be Leaders; therefore there’s powerful distinctions to make.

Are you after a title, a role, or seeking to contribute in a way that offers you satisfaction and goal achievement? Big questions to consider and for now, let’s dig a bit deeper into the differences in title and role.

Managers don’t necessarily create the culture and often aren’t responsible for the team’s goals.

The main responsibility of a manager is to maintain the status quo – the company’s current best practices. Most managers don’t have much autonomy to deviate from the company’s directive. Managers often are not able to drive their own agenda or what they believe are the best goals for the team.

Leaders usually create and drive their own plan.

Leaders proactively develop and create the vision for the team as well as goals the team will achieve. Leaders share their vision with direct reports and expect them to implement and operationally manage.

Leaders are proactive - Managers are often reactive

Leaders are expected to stay ahead of issues and alter direction as needed to navigate around obstacles.

Managers look at what’s going on in the business at a given moment in time then make decisions to the best of their training and guidance.

Leaders are required to problem solve - Managers report problems or implement known solutions.

Leaders have to be nimble and flex to the ever-changing environment so that they may uncover the ideal way to solve a problem.

Managers report the issues they’re seeing and ask for approval to drive forward with solving the problem.

Leaders create new business strategies – Managers use what was given to them.

Leaders are expected to understand and analyze the external and internal environments impacting the business, and choose which ways the team will perform in order to effectively reach goals.

As a manager, you receive training on how the business should perform, and then are expected to implement the best course of action that falls within the guidelines provided for each scenario. The Manager is the one who is tasked with making sure the Leaders strategy is implemented.

Leaders have experience in several areas - Managers have targeted knowledge.

Managers and their teams are tasked with a few specific functions.

Leaders have a broad knowledge of everything the organization and team are doing and expected to do.

Does this change your answer of how you label yourself - a Manager or Leader? Perhaps it sets the stage for where you’re at now.

Do you find yourself wanting to grow and develop your career? Maybe you want to be more than just a Manager or just a Leader. Maybe you strive to be an Inspirational Leader.

If you want to be an amazing Leader who motivates and drives results, contact Paula Conkey Coaching.

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