Leader or Manager – Which One Are You?
By Alan Olsen
Are you a great leader or just a manager? While your title may include “manager” that doesn’t automatically make you a leader. Likewise, being a manager doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader, as well. Some people might think the words leader and manager are interchangeable, but they’re actually quite different. Managers direct people to do work for them. Leaders inspire people, who then become motivated to accomplish great things.
Managers are important in most work settings. They’ve worked hard at getting things done. They have climbed the ranks to move up because they’ve been successful at managing schedules, completing projects, organizing workflowsand projects,and delegating tasks. They also enforce company policies and they help resolve issues or problems in workflow and relationships. These are all good, but they don’t make you a leader.
Leaders use their skills, experience, and charisma to motive and inspire others. Because leaders motivate by example, those they lead choose to follow them. They aren’t just completing a list of tasks or processes. Leaders have a long-term vision not just a list of short-term goals that need to get done by a certain time. Their goals are clear and they help encourage and motivate those around them to focus on, and achieve those goals.
Becoming a Better Leader
So what can you do to become a better leader? Remember, it doesn’t matter if your job title includes the word manager or not. You can be a leader, either way. Here are some ways to be a leader.
Keep Your Focus on the Long-Term
Having a narrow, task-oriented focus prevents you from having the long-term focus you need to be a leader. Leaders focus on the long-term outlook and look beyond daily tasks. So consider thebig picture and focus on the future.
Good leaders are always looking to get better. That means they’re always willing and eager to learn more. That also means they’re willing to take risks and step outside their comfort zones. Leaders are also willing to learn from others, even those they lead. They recognize they don’t know everything and that learning opportunities are everywhere. This humility also helps people trust leaders, because they recognize the leader is humble enough to learn.
Ask for Help
Effective leaders are also open to feedback. They aren’t afraid to ask for help or direction. They involve those they led by asking for their opinions. Leaders use this feedback to improve their own skills. They also learn how and when to delegate, and when to let others take the lead. Asking for feedback helps others feel more engaged and that their opinions count.
Be Emotionally Intelligent
Being emotionally intelligent means having self-awareness, empathy, self –control and social skills. You can test your emotional intelligence level by checking how you react and respond to others, especially in difficult circumstances.
Becoming a leader does not depend on your title or position. It does depend on your mindset and your focus, and how you treat others.