Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Manager and Leader, Not Always Synonymous

While leaders can be managers, managers aren't necessarily leaders.  There's been an increasing trend to use these descriptors interchangeably, almost to the point of deliberate ignorance. 

So, what is a manager?
  Managers are characterized by efficiency. 

And, what is a leader?
  Leaders are characterized by effectiveness. 

The striking and main difference between the two is that managers do things right and leaders do the right thing.  However, with effective coaching or mentoring from others and the right motivation, a manager can become a leader.  
Transitioning from being a static manager to a dynamic leader is not impossible, a will to do so is the fuel for the transition.  Adopting, learning and practicing the fundamentals of leadership are key.

A sampling of the basic principles of effective leaders: 
  • Be motivated.
  • Motivate others.
  • Be positive.
  • Be mentored.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Read. Read a lot.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Lead by example.
  • Admit your not always the smartest in the room.
  • Be inspired.
  • Be inspiring.
  • Ask for help.
  • Admit mistakes.
  • Foster leadership in others.
  • Know when to share the limelight.
  • Set direction.
  • Give purpose.
  • Put others first.
  • Innovate.
  • Challenge status quo.
  • Know your strengths.
  • Know your weaknesses.
Yes, leaders and managers are two very different roles.  Both are necessary.  But, one doesn't necessarily equal the other.  The best managers should seek to be a leader as well.

1 comment:

  1. Great set of principles and nice article Stephanie!

    May I add, if you don't mind, that leaders and managers are not in my opinion two roles. Being a manager is indeed a role as you say, but being a leader is a way of life. It is not a role, a label nor a title. It the way a person is, acts and reacts, and simply lives.

    And I agree on every level that managers can become leaders, because honestly, every living person has the potential to be a leader. Companies would thrive exponentially if their managers became "true" leaders.

    Thank you for allowing me to comment and for writing such an interesting piece,

    Please connect with me, I look forward to continuing this discussion!

    Nikolaï Ray, personal development companion and leadership specialist