If you’re seeking a promotion at work, you’ve probably thought a lot about how you can make a positive difference within your company. You have tons of ideas and a list of things you think need improvement. You dream about being an effective leader with all of the knowledge you have to offer. But have you stopped to think whether you’ll represent yourself as a leader or a mere manager? What’s the difference? Read on for some important distinctions.
Vision versus Direction
A strong leader visualizes what they see as challenging yet achievable for the business. They hold fast to this vision and instill these goals within their team. Leaders motivate and inspire those who work for them and in turn, the entire company strives to reach key milestones as a cohesive team. Managers are integral in coming up with ways to reach those milestones along the way. They create processes and measurements to facilitate progress but don’t visualize the main organizational objective.
Coaching versus Managing
Leaders actively engage with their team members, coaching and supporting them. They see the value within each and every member of their team and support the opinions, thoughts, and suggestions brought to the table. Trust and transparency between leaders and their team members are of the utmost importance, as leaders know their team members are more than capable of taking thoughtful action without the need for micro-management. On the other hand, managers set guidelines for completing tasks and make themselves available for assistance when needed. It is within their nature to monitor team progress and enact the change they see fit.
Connecting versus Processing
People are the most important part of any organization and leaders are more than aware of this. Thus, they focus on connecting and finding common ground with their team members. They seek to build a trusting reciprocal relationship with the members of their staff. This mutual and respectful understanding helps to drive their vision forward. Managers work alongside their staff and create a logical delegation of tasks to reach goals. They may build bonds with their team members through constant communication and interaction, but they prioritize a structure that facilitates seamless workflow.
Most people understand the idea of good leadership. They’ve either worked under superiors they respected immensely and actually liked as people. On the other hand, many people have also had the unpleasant experience of working with absolute tyrants. If you plan to move up the ladder within your company, understanding what defines and distinguishes a great leader from a manager will help you exact the positive change and impact you’re looking for.