The Difference Between A Manager And A Leader

You’ve probably heard that anyone can be a manager, but only a few people can be a leader. And the difference between manager and leader is more often than not, confused. Just because you’ve been given a manager role doesn’t make you a leader and this can serve as your detriment. If you are given the opportunity at a manager’s position in your company, the most effective method for self-preservation would be morphing that role into more of a leadership role. Here are a few ways you can help that process and secure your current role and future company advancement.
1) The Sinking Ship: Don’t be the first person to jump off the ship if your department is failing at a task, project or quarterly goal. It may well be a lack of effort or lack of execution by staff that’s hurting your progress, however, at the end of the day when you are confronted by higher ups, you need to take responsibility for any shortcomings. This shows others that you are willing to go down with the ship, it displays confidence and that you possess a great amount of personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is one of the most prominent attributes to a leader’s character.
2) Know How To Do Things: It’s a strange statement, telling a manager to “know how to do things,” however, this is one of the biggest discrepancies between managers and leaders. Sure, you can hire someone to manage a restaurant and that person can set a schedule for how often the dish washing machine is ran, but what if the dishwasher calls out sick? A manager may try to track down a replacement dish washer and when that fails, start asking who might know how to dish wash. A leader may also try to track down a replacement, but will simultaneously run the machine. Not only is this efficient, it also shows other employees that you are willing to get dirty and this will inspire others to work hard and follow your lead. If you manage programmers at a tech company, you may not be able to learn PHP overnight, but don’t hesitate to take some online classes so you can stay abreast of the trade and maybe even help out on smaller task. When employees realize you understand what’s going on, they are less likely to misquote projects as well (pad them with additional time).
3) Don’t Be First Out: Obviously, some times you need to leave early and often times you need to leave on time; but the majority of the time, you should leave after your employees (pending you work in an environment that makes that possible). If you are at a company that’s 9-5 and your employees always see you running out the door at 5:00, it sends a message that you really want to be anywhere but at the company.
4) Check In On Employees And Offer Help: Just asking employees for updates gets a little cold, however, when you ask for updates and offer up help where needed, you show a personal responsibility in their work. You might have an employee who is overwhelmed and needs help, or one that’s having trouble getting through a task because they don’t have the full skill-set to complete it (you could offer to teach them or direct them to an online resource).
Being a leader means you offer the company something that they will have a hard time replacing, which can lead to promotions, raises and bonuses. Many people can manage, so in this role your position is always in question.