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    Talent Management

    How Are Managers and Leaders Different?

    leaders vs managers image
    nitzan michman
    June 5, 2023
    3 min read
    leaders vs managers image

    The words manager and leader are often used interchangeably. Nevertheless, differences exist between the two. A manager’s mission focuses on meeting objectives and goals. They oversee the day-to-day operations of an organization. Their role involves mentoring and training to ensure their employees have the skills and tools to meet deadlines within a culture of collaboration.

    President Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Leaders motivate and inspire others to do their best. They are creative thinkers who are willing to take chances and to listen. They are products of a journey of self-awareness to understand their people better.

    A Time to Manage

    The responsibility of a manager rests with bringing unity to teams. That starts with clear expectations. Sadly, according to the Gallup State of the Workplace Report, almost 60 percent of employees feel it exists with their positions. Roughly 94 percent of workers want the training to perform their best and will stay with an organization that prioritizes it.

    Takeaway: Managers must align the skill set of their team members with clear expectations.

    A Time to Lead

    The most important skill for a leader is emotional intelligence. It gives individuals the self-confidence to delegate. No one can know everything. A successful leader understands their strengths and shortcomings. Perhaps Marissa Meyer put it best when she said, “Find the smartest people you can and surround yourself with them.”

    Good leaders practice active listening and are empathetic. The pandemic drove home how critical these soft skills are in the workplace. These individuals understand the importance of trust and accountability. They lead by doing, setting an example of excellence. Their goal is to empower their team members. They see the big picture and provide the guiding vision.

    Takeaway: Great leaders lead by inspiring and respecting others.

    Managing and Leading

    Managing and leading have their pitfalls. A lack of development often is the root of missteps. Therefore, it also behooves organizations to invest in senior staff training. We can speak of born leaders like Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Some people are born for these positions. However, as John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

    Managers must view mistakes as opportunities for growth and realignment. Likewise, leaders must meet conflict head-on and engage in the difficult discussions. Managers row the boat. Leaders set the course.

    Tips for Developing Managers and Leaders

    Interpersonal skills are critical for managers. That allows them to streamline projects and handle workflows. Clarity is the foundation for effective communication. Employees want a say in their career paths. Good managers elicit feedback and follow through with commitments. Nurturing a psychologically safe workplace assures team members that their comments are welcome.

    Improved employee engagement is the goal for leaders. Everyone in an organization must understand its mission or North Star metric. All staff members must realize their roles. That fosters a culture of collaboration, which is the ultimate sign of a strong company. A good leader must also embrace adaptability and flexibility with sound decision-making, especially in turbulent economic times.

    Building solid teams involves sharing knowledge. That makes coaching and mentoring essential. After all, an organization’s greatest assets are its people. Other factors fall into place when a company has clear, two-way communication.

    Final Thoughts

    Managers ensure an organization runs like a well-oiled machine. They keep employees on point to meet deadlines and complete projects. Leaders are the driving force, providing direction and motivation. They look toward the future and navigate through the headwinds and tailwinds. When managers and leaders work together effectively, an organization can thrive, finding success in the face of adversity.

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