Leaders vs. Managers - Identifying the Differences.
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Leaders vs. Managers: Which Are You?

Leaders vs. Managers: Which Are You?It’s often thought that a manager is the same thing as a leader. However, these two roles are quite different. Though each is equally as important, to say that they are the same is big misunderstanding. Though everyone can learn to develop their leadership and management skills, it’s important to note your natural tendency so that you can find the best overall fit for who you are. Here are some of the key differences between leaders and managers.

Administrate / Innovate

Managers are very focused on the details and lean into their ability to get the job done through tasking and routine. Leaders, on the other hand, will appreciate the details but prefer to delegate the small things to stay focused on thinking forward to the solutions. Managers are great problem identifiers while leaders focus on goals, freeing up their brain to be more solution centric.

Emulate / Originate

Managers are likely to take their lead from someone else. They find an example of someone who is getting it right and will model themselves after the success of that person. Leaders do the opposite. They do take note of the successes of others, but instead of changing themselves to fit a model, they adjust the wins of others to fit into who they naturally are. Mangers prefer to emulate while leaders prefer to be original and do things their own way.

Maintain / Develop

Managers are not typically reaching for new ideas, exploring the possibilities of the unknown. They stick with what is working and keep things maintained well. Leaders are glad things are working but are always ready for the next step. Their minds are always set on development and continual improvement.

Systems / People

Mangers love to focus on the systems and structure of the organization. This is what makes them great maintainers. They want all of the pieces to come together and often feel uncomfortable when the plan goes off course. Leaders are for more concerned with the people than the systems. They would prefer to inspire and motivate people to get back on track than worry about the details of how to get realigned.

Short Range / Long Range

Managers think it terms of meeting the short range, measurable objectives. This is great for the daily operations. Leaders prefer to exert their mental energy on long range thinking. This is what makes the short range goals possible and accurate. Without the long range goals, it’s hard to identify what the short range objectives should be. Without monitoring the short range objectives, you will never meet the long range goals. They go hand in hand.

Accepts / Challenges

Because managers are maintenance focused, they tend to accept the status quo as long as it is working fairly well. They don’t like to rock the boat if it’s not a dire need. Leaders, on the other hand, are fairly unsatisfied with keeping things the same and greatly enjoy the opportunity to challenge the status quo. They are always looking for ways to set themselves and their organization apart from the rest.

Again, both of these two roles are necessary and work best in conjunction with each other. Though everyone has the capacity to learn and grow into either of these roles, not everyone is best suited for the leader role and not everyone is best suited for the manager role. Always be looking for ways to grow and improve yourself, but lean into what you are naturally inclined toward and give it your all.