The common perception of the leader is one who provides a vision, inspires others to action and with ambition, drive and determination brings about successful change. Whereas, the common perception of the manager is one who sets goals, manages performance and works with processes that are tried and tested and sometimes are successful. Am I being hard on managers? Perhaps I am. What’s key is the difference in relationship that a leader brings to how they manage their people. Here are some thoughts to consider.
- Leaders understand that time invested in people matters.Taking time with others and helping them with their development outside of the immediate task will bear fruit down the line. Managers tend to focus on the job at hand.
- Leaders look to do things differently, they are open to change and to innovate where possible.Managers tend to stick with the tried and tested, ensuring that processes are in place and that resources are to hand.
- Leaders are aware of how they manage and the impact they have on individuals and teams. While managers many not be aware of their leadership style, leaders can adapt to changing circumstances. They focus on both the personal and team dynamic to ensure the team stays motivated to get the job done.
- Leaders have authenticity.They walk the talk and the people around them take them as they are. Managers who don’t take the time to discover their own purpose and brand will struggle to build relationships that can stand up to the stresses and pressures of the job. Managers who are not authentic will eventually be shown up and will find it difficult to cope.
- Leaders are continually learning, particularly from failure.Leaders take the time to better understand the business they are in. They try to find out what the key business drivers that they operate under. They understand the regulatory environment in which the business operates. They understand how the competition copes with business challenges. They look to find solutions to these challenges through the people they work with and are willing to take risk getting there. What really separates the leader from the manager is that the leader will learn from the failure and efforts to succeed, while the manager will continue to work the tried and tested and will not be open to the risk of failure.
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