Top 8 differences between managers and leaders

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Differences between managers and leaders

Many people are under the impression that being promoted into a managerial role automatically makes you a leader. However, there truly are very important distinctions between managing and leading a group of people. First, it starts with understanding the different roles these play in an organisation.

What is leadership?

This is the action of leading a group towards a common goal or purpose. People who are natural leaders usually have 3 attributes in common: they inspire people to share their vision, they motivate individuals to act on that vision, and they encourage the group to overcome obstacles in pursuit of that vision.

What is management?

This is the process of dealing with or controlling things or people. But the emphasis does tend to be on things rather than people. Managers are people who plan, organize and coordinate resources. They tend to be methodical and need to continuously reassess their process to ensure they’re progressing as planned. If not, they need to pivot and get back to their baseline assessment.

What are the differences?

There are several key distinctions between the role of a leader and manager in an organisation or enterprise. Here are the top 8 differences to consider:

  1.  Leaders will create a shared vision, managers create shared goals.
  2. Leaders are agents of change, managers need to maintain the status quo.
  3. Leaders are expected to take risks, managers are expected to control risk.
  4. Leaders are in it for the long haul, managers need to think short-term.
  5. Leaders build strong relationships, managers build systems and processes.
  6. Leaders rely on personal growth, managers rely on existing, proven skills.
  7. Leaders coach from a distance, managers direct from the ground floor.
  8. Leaders create avid fans, managers have employees who respect them.

Can you become both?

The answer is in many cases, yes! You’ll probably notice that many of the skills for leadership and management are the same. If it were a Venn diagram, the best leaders and managers would meet in the middle. However, it is important to know that your skills can always be improved upon and to keep working at being the best leader or manager when most appropriate.

Our Masters in Business Management explores all of the traits and good qualities of a leader in management. Speak to one of our student advisors about this programme today!

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