The Difference Between Being a Manager and a Leader – and Why the World Needs More Leaders

August 30, 2022

The last two years has radically changed the way we work. We’re many to still be working from home for most days, and will probably continue to do so for a very long time.

We’re thankfully no longer being micromanaged during our work day and we don’t have to check in as often as we used to. A culture of face time has been replaced by a celebration of collaborative skills and a drive for results.

So how has the relationship with our bosses evolved as a result?

Interestingly, it has given rise to a new era of leaders, coaches, and mentors – people who are only interested in seeing their team rise to their full potential. The archaic and traditional manager role is slowly disappearing while rapidly losing its shine.

If you’re currently a manager, take some time to introspect and ask yourself, are you managing or are you leading? Do you even know the difference?

Being a good manager is certainly important, but being a great leader is what is truly essential for any business to thrive. Simply put, a leader is someone who inspires others to achieve great things and helps them grow as individuals.

In this post, I’ll discuss the key differences between being a manager and a leader, and I’ll delve into some of the ways you can set yourself up to become an awesome leader.  Now, more than ever, the world needs more of you.

The Basics of Management vs. Leadership

In the simplest and most traditional of ways, being a manager is about organizing and directing people to achieve specific goals. Everybody thinks becoming a manager is the be-all and end-all of the corporate ladder. I beg to differ.

Think about it, a manager is someone who simply deals with the day-to-day operations of a business, delegates tasks, and reviews their team members’ performance. The role is administrative in nature, and not very exciting if you ask me.

On the other hand, a leader is the person who sets the strategic vision for the future. They’re focused on inspiring and motivating their team to reach their full potential. Wildly empowering, don’t you think?

Leadership is especially all about servant leadership. What is that, you may ask?

Servant Leadership: Servant leadership is a leadership style and philosophy whereby an individual interacts with others – either in a management or fellow employee capacity – to achieve authority rather than power. The system embodies a decentralized organizational structure.

In other words, that means putting your team’s needs above your own and always putting the mission first. A good leader inspires people and makes them want to do their best. They create an environment where people feel valued and appreciated, and they encourage collaboration and communication. Leaders are also transparent and honest, which builds trust between themselves and their team.

If we were to summarize, managers are typically more task-oriented, while leaders are more people-oriented. Which sounds like more fun to you?

The Importance of a Growth Mindset

What else differentiates a traditional manager from a leader? Leaders are always looking for ways to improve and grow. They know that it’s not enough to rest on their laurels – they have to keep pushing themselves to learn new things and grow as people.

If you’d rather lead, be honest with yourself about what skills you may be lacking, and make time to learn. The world is changing, technology is rapidly advancing, and you can’t simply rely on your experience anymore. At one point or another, you have to face the fact that you may not know it all, and take the time to dig into certain topics, pick up a book, or follow a course. A leader is humble enough to know what he’s lacking and thirsty enough for the knowledge to seek it out.

The Importance of Feedback

As a leader, it’s also important to stretch our way of thinking and look at things from different angles. Sometimes the way to do that is to get honest and raw feedback from others.

I’ve always been a firm believer that giving and receiving feedback is essential for any individual’s growth. It’s honestly the best way to learn and improve your skills. That’s why I make it a point to periodically give feedback to colleagues, friends, family, while always asking for the same in return. Giving and receiving genuine feedback is truly a gift.

That means it’s important to create a general culture of feedback in your team – giving and accepting feedback openly, in a non-threatening manner, and making it a regular part of your communication.

Why the Future Needs Leaders

Our new world now needs leaders more than ever before.

Leaders inspire people to do their best. They’re great at communication and motivating others, and they see the potential in others and help them achieve it. They make things happen, and they’re not afraid to take risks. With so much at stake for our planet, with the landscape of the workforce quickly shifting, we need leaders to take appropriate action and inspire others to do the same.

So if you’re thinking of the next step in your career, your business, or your life, forget about becoming a manager, and instead, think about becoming a leader, the kind of leader our world needs.

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