The concepts of leadership and management are sometimes thrown around as if they are synonymous. However, they are actually not. There is most certainly a difference between leadership and management, and being conscious of this can be the difference between your top employees happily staying and leaving disgruntled. Read on to learn about key leader vs. manager differences, and see why both types of people are key to running a successful enterprise.
What is a leader?
Leaders come in many shapes and sizes. In general, leaders are concerned with larger concepts and ideas associated with workers and companies. Instead of getting caught up in the nitty gritty, nuts and bolts of the daily workings of a business, leaders concentrate on long-term strategy and the unmeasurable aspects of the workforce.
What is a manager?
Managers often work within the framework set by leaders. In many ways, a manager is more concerned with tangible outcomes and processes. Management involves staying across the output of various employees, ensuring that they are meeting the product or service goals of a company. Managers delegate tasks, oftentimes ones put forth by leaders.
Where are the differences?
Still having trouble picturing the differences between leadership and management? That’s quite alright. Read on to check out some common examples of both in action in an office environment.
Instead of fretting about document formatting or whether or not a document gets completed on time, a leader will understand and share with others why it’s important that a client is properly serviced, keeping everybody apprised of the overall goals of the company and how the work each employee is doing is helping achieve those goals.
- Setting the agenda
Continuing with the theme of vision, leaders have the foresight and the ability to conceptualise a path for the organisation. They’ll put people in place to achieve the company’s goals. A manager will be one of the people a leader puts in place, selected to guide a smaller group without necessarily worrying about what other smaller groups are doing.
Another everyday difference between a leader and a manager is that a manager is willing to go along with orders, following them to a T. Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with carrying out the tasks that have been assigned. But a leader is willing to question (respectfully, of course) different systems and processes. This is not necessarily done under a veil of scepticism, but more in a quest to determine better practices that can increase productivity and/or the working lives of team members.
Leader vs manager: Which is better?
Companies need a mix of leaders and managers. However, it is often easier to slide into the role of manager. While such people are still vital to the smooth operation of an organisation, the best businesses will feature those that are able to rise to the challenge of being a leader. The best case scenario is for those in positions of power to have the capabilities of both a manager and a leader.
How to make sure you’re being a good leader
Think you have the characteristics of a good manager but are worried about your leadership abilities? Here are some things to keep in mind as you continue to evolve as a team member.
- Care about your workers, not just their work
One of the most important leadership qualities is taking an interest in the people working for you instead of just worrying about the rate at which they’re completing tasks. While that is important, talking to them about their professional goals and getting their input is what makes you a leader of people, not just a manager of workers.
- Be committed to communicating
Being able to communicate is also one of the most vital leadership skills. Instead of just telling people when they’re doing a good job with tasks or whipping them into shape when they’re slacking, leaders will share the aforementioned vision of the company.
- Attempt to inspire
A leader is somebody others in an organisation look up to in times both good and bad. While workers will theoretically follow the mandates of a manager, a leader is somebody who earns the unwavering trust of other team members.
Understanding the difference between leadership and management is quite important if you want to give yourself the best chance of retaining a group of quality employees. It’s okay if you don’t feel like you have a firm grasp on what it takes to be an effective leader. Saxons has great leadership tips and advice that can help you and others develop leadership skills. You can even take it a step further by hiring an expert in the field and gathering high-ranking team members in a Saxons training facility for a seminar or two. Act like a leader and explore such options today.