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MANAGING VS. LEADING: 5 IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES

It has been implied for years that management and leadership are virtually synonymous. It makes sense, given that managers are often looked to as leaders within an organization. However, not all managers are great leaders and not all leaders are in management roles.

Here are 5 important differences between managers and leaders:

1- Mission

Managers are often viewed as leaders, but think about what some of their essential functions are: hiring, firing, scheduling, budgeting and planning. These duties do not require leadership. Managers are traditionally focused on keeping their department running smoothly.

Leaders understand that teams are comprised of individuals whose energy and compatibility is just as important as the functions they serve. A leader’s mission is to foster creativity and responsibility in the workplace, working with individuals to achieve this. Leaders help develop individuals instead of simply focusing on the numbers.

2- Self-Awareness

Managers often have black and white thinking and they are used to having the final say in matters. Their role is to manage employees, and they must retain that power through confident decision-making. This mindset can overpower a manager’s self-awareness and make them less open to discussion.

Leaders can open dialogues with employees and talk openly. Leaders trust employees and discuss processes, whereas managers expect their instructions to be followed without hesitation.

3- Risk and Trust

Managers are accustomed to being the final authority on all matters, but don’t often have the flexibility to fail. This can lead to micromanaging, which stems from a lack of trust.

Leaders foster trust between employees. A good leader knows when to let someone else take the reins and can trust them to do so effectively.

4- Two-Way Learning

Managers like to be recognized as the subject matter experts. In their view, they are the head decision-makers, but this approach can alienate ideas and discourage employees from sharing ideas.

Leaders know they are not always going to have the correct answers. Instead, they build relationships, keep communication channels open, and collaborate on projects.

5- Personal Voice

Managers often have a work personality and a home personality and they can be rigid and formulaic in their approach. They believe success is an equation that can be solved.

Leaders know their personalities benefit their work. Leaders know that the phrase “this is how we’ve always done it” is a surefire way to hinder progress.

At the core, the main difference between managing and leading is trust. Managers often see things as cut and dry, black and white. Leaders, on the other hand, cultivate trust and seek to understand areas of growth and opportunity. They challenge the status quo and they trust their employees to do the right thing. While there is no perfect style, it seems that the modern workplace can greatly benefit from more leaders and fewer managers.

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