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Managers and Leaders: The Difference

The terms manager and leader are often referred to synonymously, but there are distinct differences between the two. Good managers are leaders, but not all leaders are managers. Leadership and management should go hand in hand and complement one another. Overall, managers are there for organizing and coordinating, and leaders are there to motivate. Our team at High Profile has designed this post to help you understand the differences between leaders and managers.

Managers tend to count value rather than create it, and some even reduce value by creating unnecessary obstacles. For example, managers might ask their employees to check in every 20 minutes while working on an assigned task, but the constant check-ins are distracting the employee from the original project. On the other hand, leaders stay focused on the overall value. Leaders are able to let their employees deal with project A, while they deal with project B. Great leaders generate value and lead by example.

Leaders have a group of people who they influence and who influence them, while managers may have more of a “circle of power” mentality. If you aren’t sure which category you fit into, take the time to think about the amount of people that come to you for advice. If you have a handful of people that come to you for advice, outside of your direct reports, chances are you are viewed as a leader.

Managers answer questions while leaders ask them. Managers tend to make all of the decisions without asking the input of their employees. Leaders try to get as much input as possible in order to make an informed decision. Simply asking, “What do you think?” allows an employee to be part of the overall decision-making process.

It’s very important in today’s workplace that managers have strong leadership traits. The change won’t happen overnight, but consistent time and effort should be put into developing effective leadership skills. In order to be a leader, you really need to understand where your employees are coming from, and how to best leverage their strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to influence your employees, and they should know their ideas are welcome. Contact us today for more information on making the shift from manager to leader.

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