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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Manager or Leader?

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

We left you with a cliff hanger last week when we asked you to consider the difference between a manager and a leader using two scenarios. Today we will answer the question: What is the difference between a Manager and a Leader? If you missed that blog or want to refresh your memory, go here to get caught up.

You probably notice many similarities between Sally at AwesomeisUs business and Tanya at WeCanDoIt. They have the same position as Director of Company Operations. They are both good at what they do and are considered essential to the company’s success. They are both viewed as authority figures by their subordinates. They are both skilled at solving problems. They both deliver quality products to their customers.

The differences between Sally and Tanya lie in how they go about achieving success. One focuses on solving the problem at hand. The other examines why problems happen and creates new systems to prevent them in the future. One maintains tight control of her employees. The other collaborates with her employees and encourages them to grow. One directs, the other inspires.

As you have probably deduced, Sally is our manager and Tonya is the leader. Actually, Tanya is both a manager and a leader.

Perhaps the key difference is that while managers focus on getting the job done,

leaders focus on strengthening workers individually and as a team to do a good job. Managers get their authority from their job descriptions and the chain of command that puts them in a position of power. In contrast, leaders use passion, vision, and personal relationships to exert influence on those around them.

Many managers are also leaders, but not all.

Perhaps you have had experience with a visionary leader who gracefully manages all of the details to reach that vision. And there are also efficient managers who inspire their teams through their passion.

The job can get done with good managers who keep systems running smoothly and achieves the company’s goals. However, they cap the company’s opportunities for success if they limit their focus to keeping all the cogs in the system moving and are not helping employees see the bigger picture.

Leaders have learned how to tap into the less tangible resources of the company: vision, motivation, and the synergy of many pieces working together to produce something greater than the sum of its parts. This results in loyal and dedicated employees who are willing to go the extra mile to be successful.

Understanding the unique way that these different approaches work to influence the organization as a whole can help you support and develop your management team so that the business can thrive.

Join us next week when we talk about concrete things you can start doing right away to develop more leadership in your managerial style.

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