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4 differences between leaders and managers


How does a manager know when they have spanned the chasm between management and leadership? After all, there is not much of a difference, right?

Here are four ways leaders and managers are different.

1. Control vs Communication

Managers are there to control the processes of humans and the flow of information. When interacting with employees, managers tend to follow a formulaic procedure. Unfortunately, this can affect morale and productivity and thus lead to errors.

Leadership revolves around open communication, the ability to tell any employee what they need to hear, when they need to hear it. Whether this means an open door policy or daily discussions with staff, being there and available is what is important.

2. Stasis vs Growth

Managers focus on the day-to-day running of an organisation. Specifically, they are there to keep it running, to make it work here and now.

Leadership aims to align followers with a goal. What makes this happen is their ability to inspire workers, cultivating an understanding through strong, positive relationships.

3. Value-added vs value-subtracted

In an August 2 2013 Harvard Business Review article, Sampark Foundation Founder Vineet Nayar wrote that managers tend to “count” value or even “subtract” it. An example of this could be a manager hiding behind a warehouse door with a stop watch, timing the entrances of his employees.

As managers are fixated on maintaining their control, they have a tendency to subtract value through their mechanisms of audit.

Leaders, on the other hand, empower their employees. Leaders add value to their teams, not just manage it. Adding value is accomplished by both leading by example and acting as an enabler, namely, encouraging employees to take reasonability and be accountable for their actions.

4. Systematic approach vs Creative approach 

Managers tend to utilise systematic approaches. Sometimes these can lead to inflexibility, reflected by their adversity to risk.

Leaders, on the other hand, bring a creative disposition to their work. They tend to have strong visions that they rally people behind. Risk is a daily occurrence.

Not everyone is a leader, but nor is leadership concrete. Leadership training is an excellent way to leap the gap between a manager and a leader.

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