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So You Really Think You’re a Leader?

July 17, 2013

Every manager is a leader and every leader is a manager, right? Wrong. Leadership and management are often used synonymously, when in reality they have two very different connotations. According to Ilya Pozin, “Every leader may not be a manager, but every manager should be a leader.” So, you ask yourself, “What’s the difference?” Here’s a breakdown of some of the differences between the two and what it takes to truly be a leader:

  • A manager maintains; a leader develops. A manager does what they are told and follows the status quo, while a leader seeks out new ideas and processes that can positively impact the organization.
  • A manager has a short-range view; a leader has long-range perspective. A manager focuses on making sure that he or she is reaching assigned goals for output, savings, etc. A leader sees the bigger picture and analyzes how to improve processes, and asseses whether or not certain tasks align with the organization’s highest goals.
  • A manager does things right; a leader does the right thing. A manager makes sure that things are completed according to plan. However, a leader makes sure that the people within the organization are happy and that the organization is meeting and/or surpassing ethical and company standards.
  • A manager gives answers; a leader asks questions. A manager often assigns tasks to people and tells them how to complete them. A leader, on the other hand, asks employees for their opinions and allows them to participate in the decision-making process. Doing so makes employees feel that they are important to the organization and it inspires creativity and motivation.

In the end, this really has nothing to do with job title. It’s even possible that a CEO may not have the leadership skills necessary to take a company in the direction it needs to go; which would be a HUGE problem, but it happens. Part of the responsibilities of someone in a management role is to plan, organize, budget, measure performance, staff jobs and problem solve, which all help an organization “predictably do what it knows how to do,” according to John Kotter.

Management can be an incredibly difficult task and its complexity is often underestimated. However, along with all of these management responsibilities, it is very important to think beyond the day-to-day work and deadlines, and really think about the needs of the people within your organization and how to better your company in the long run.

Do you think there’s a difference between a manager and a leader? Share your thoughts below. 

Posted By: Briana Perrino


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