We often hear the terms “leader” and “manager” interchanged in an organization, business, and entrepreneurial operations. The problem with associating these two terms is that they come with entirely different characteristics and descriptions. Therefore, if you want to become more of a natural leader in a workplace setting, it’s time to look beyond the confines of “management.”
It’s possible to be both a leader and a manager. However, it’s possible to be a manager without any natural leadership inclinations. We’re on a mission to clear that up in this blog.
So let’s get right to it.
Leaders vs. Managers
- Leaders Are Concerned with a Vision; Managers Are Concerned with Due Dates: Leaders are constantly looking beyond the horizon, sharing their visions and positivity with people around them. Sure, they are concerned with project due dates, but they are more concerned with the personal development and advancement of the people around them. Managers are merely trying to keep bosses happy and clients content with quality deliverables.
- Leaders Love Change; Managers Love Status Quo: We’ve all known that manager who grunts and puffs when they come into the office, only to discover something has changed. On the flip side, leaders welcome change; they know change is a necessary component of growth and advancement. A leader welcomes change with open arms, while a manager does everything in their power to avoid it.
- Leaders Think with a Long-Term Mindset; Managers Think Short-Term: Managers are working hard to fulfil requirements so the paychecks keep flowing. They think about projects due today, tomorrow, and next week. Leaders not only think about those projects due today – they think about where they want to see the company go in the coming years. They think about what they want for themselves and their peers 10-years down the line.
- Leaders Invest in People; Managers Invest in Processes: A leader is someone who works every day to make people’s lives better. No one asks them to do it; as a natural leader, they just want to. A manager, on the other hand, creates systems and processes that expedite work while minimizing the amount of personal time they have to spend with employees. A leader is a person of the people.
- Leaders Are Mentors; Managers Are Directors: Leaders provide a two-way channel, one in which feedback is welcome. People feel comfortable approaching a leader with an idea or suggestion. A manager, on the other hand, creates a one-way channel in which they provide orders and rules everyone else must obey. They are not interested in hearing any feedback about the current office setting.
At the end of the day, you should be more preoccupied with being a leader in any professional environment than a manager. Simply being a leader means the natural requirements of managerial oversight will come in tow. Be someone people want to be around. You’ll foster much more collaborative communication that way.