Lots of people presume that once they become a manager, it’s a clear sign that they are a leader. In reality, that’s not always the case.

The truth is that while all leaders can become managers, not all managers have the skills that will make them a leader. In fact, there’s much difference between the two.

1) Leaders are vision-oriented, managers are goal-oriented

The main focus of leaders is creating a vision that inspires employees and gives them a purpose and direction. Leaders show employees what’s possible, and can encourage them to dream again and become something better than they are right now.

Managers are focused on goals. Goals are the steps that employees will now have to make a vision into a reality for the organization.

2) Leaders are disruptors. Managers stick to the norm

Leaders are individuals that welcome and embrace change. They are always innovating and inventing ways how to make things better for the organization.

While managers have the ability also to develop ideas to improve the way how things are done in a company, they first spend a considerable amount of time analyzing and weighing the pros and cons before making a decision.

Leaders are also willing to take risks to reach specific milestones and objectives. Managers will go for the “safer” route, sticking to methods and processes that were effective in the past.

3) Leaders dare to be different. Managers are content with mimicking what works

Leaders are emotionally intelligent people. Because of that, they’re confident and comfortable not only to make decisions but also defend the choices they make. At the same time, they’re not afraid to stand out from everyone else and be different.

Managers are not as gutsy. They prefer playing things safe. As such, managers often end up mirroring the behaviors and techniques used by other managers within the organization. Some would stretch it to mimicking the management styles used by successful managers and business leaders from other companies, but that’s how far they’ll be willing to go.

4) Leaders take risks, managers avoid risks

Leaders are not afraid to make risky decisions. In fact, they thrive in these kinds of situations.

Of course, not all the decisions leaders make turn out to be the right one. However, that won’t stop them because leaders believe that failure is part of the growth process.

On the other hand, managers understand that they’re expected to deliver positive results. It’s for this very reason why managers are very cautious with every decision they make. Additionally, they take extreme care to monitor the progress of whatever project, campaign or task assigned to them to ensure everything is going according to plan.

5) Leaders look at the bigger picture, managers focus on the here and now

Leaders are very passionate and committed to the work they do. Add this to the fact that they are vision-oriented, and it’s not surprising that they tend to focus always on long-term goals.

Managers are more focused on achieving short-term goals. Much of this lies in the fact that their jobs depend on it. If they’re not able to deliver on these short-term goals, it could cost them to get demoted and lose their “leadership” position within the company or organization.

6) Leaders crave growth. Managers are concerned about sharpening their skills

One of the mantras leaders believe is “if they’re not growing, they’re decaying.” That’s the reason why they’re always innovating. That’s why they’re still on the move and looking for new opportunities to better themselves.

Managers also strive for improvement. However, instead of trying on new things, managers will strive to enhance and develop skills that they know they already possess. They may try to adopt new behaviors, but these again are those that they observed from other successful managers within their industry.

7) Leaders build relationships. Managers build systems

Leaders spend time building relationships with their colleagues and others. The reason is that they regard relationship building crucial to the growth and success of the business.

When it comes to managers, however, they view putting the proper systems and processes in place as essential to profit growth and success. By doing this, they can efficiently delegate tasks. At the same time, these systems and methods are perceived as vital to achieving their goals and objectives.

8) Leaders mentor, managers direct

Leaders and managers can quickly spot potential among those working under them. However, the way how they deal with this difference.

When leaders spot someone working in their team that has potential, they take this person under their wing and begin to mentor them. Their goal here is to bring out the best in this person, and they don’t mind if the person becomes better than them.

On the other hand, some managers may feel threatened when someone working in their team that has much potential. The reason is simple. If they provide opportunities for growth and improvement to this promising employee, they become dispensable.

As such, managers would capitalize on their potential and skills by providing them with tasks. Some managers may provide guidance, but this is limited to how to accomplish the task they assigned.

9) Leaders gain followers. Managers need to control followers

In line with the previous point mentioned, the combination of their focus on relationship building and growth, leaders find themselves surrounded by employees that choose to work with them.

Managers earn their followers as a result of being promoted to their position. Because of this, some employees in the team may have reservations, especially if they feel that are more deserving. Because of this, many managers have to resort to control to get employees on their team to follow them.

So, are you a manager? Or are you a leader? If you’re still unsure, we can help you find out through our free Discovery session as well as the steps to take to become both a leader and manager. Schedule a call with Coach Margaret today.

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