4 key differences between leaders and managers
One of the biggest misconceptions about management is that all managers are leaders. In short, it isn’t true. Just because you have netted that elusive promotion, it doesn’t mean to say that you are automatically qualified to become a leader in your business, or industry.
This is something that is taught on a lot of business courses nowadays (fortunately, you can now get an MBA without a business degree). It’s something that a lot of people need to open their eyes to, as there’s no doubt that leaders are a step on from managers.
As such, if you are currently a manager and want to take your career to the next level, let’s now take a look at some of the major differences that separate the two.
Difference #1 – Leaders are visionary, managers just opt for goals
As a manager, you are probably used to setting and ultimately measuring goals for your team. This is completely fine and we should point out that there’s nothing incorrect with this practice; it’s something that a lot of teams need.
At the same time, a true leader doesn’t necessarily work like this. They are instead visionaries and instead of directing a team towards goals, individuals will tend to follow their example and try and reach something bigger.
Difference #2 – Leaders are their own person, managers copy
It’s rare that you will stumble across two leaders who are the same. One of the biggest points of a leader is that they are their own person, and will ultimately build their own, unique brand.
A manager on the other hand will tend to copy processes from others. They might use tried-and-tested management systems, and ultimately adopt a leadership style.
Difference #3 – Leaders are there to take risks, managers will avoid them
Something that you will notice about a lot of managers is that they will avoid risk like the plague. If there is any suggestion that risk is around the corner, they will take an alternative route. This stems back to the previous point, where we spoke about them living by tried-and-tested methods.
Leaders on the other hand will tend to act in the opposite way. Sure, there will be occasions where they mitigate risk, but on the whole they are there to try new things and be innovative. Sometimes they might fail, but as most leaders will testify, failure is a key component on becoming the L-word in the first place.
Difference #4 – Leaders will coach, managers direct employees
One huge difference that will be very visible in an organization is how leaders approach their staff. In short, they will coach them. They won’t be telling them exactly what to do, they’ll know that they have this knowledge anyway. This is in stark contrast to the typical manager, who will be used to assigning tasks and showing exactly how to complete said tasks. It means that those working under a manager are working in a somewhat tighter environment.