Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders - Social Media Explorer
Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders
Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders

Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders

When people think of managers and leaders, they usually conjure up images of autocratic, rigid figures with little in common with the team-oriented and flexible personalities that make up the bulk of management. This might be because many people have never really had a chance to learn about managers or leaders—many don’t know precisely what they are. Or it could be because much of what we know about them comes from movies and television shows where characters are portrayed as stern, authoritative figures with authoritative voices—often booming ones. The reality is that there are several key differences between a manager and a leader. Understanding these differences can help you see whether you qualify as one or the other. After all, being both doesn’t just make you less productive—it can also limit your career opportunities. To help you get started on the right track, we’ve outlined seven points that differentiate managers from leaders:

1. The main difference between managers and leaders is that managers are concerned with tasks, while leaders are concerned with people. Managers focus on the task at hand—how to get the job done—while leaders focus on the people involved. Their job is to understand their team members’ needs and ensure they are met. Helen Schifter, a professor of leadership at the University of North Carolina, says that managers are motivated by the desire to get things done. They are task-oriented and tend not to have a clear sense of what they want to accomplish in their lives. They are often obsessed with the bottom line—how much money they can make.

2. Leaders establish clear goals, while managers manage people by setting vague and open-ended goals.Great leaders know precisely what they want their teams to accomplish. They have all the tools necessary to reach those goals—they have all the information they need about their team members, including their strengths and weaknesses, what motivates them, how much effort they put into tasks, and much more. They also know precisely how long it will take them—and how many resources (money, time, etc.) they need from everyone on the team to accomplish those goals.

3. Leaders are not afraid to make unpopular decisions, and they don’t hesitate to make those decisions if they think it is in the company’s best interest. Great leaders don’t hesitate to make unpopular decisions—they are willing to take risks if it helps their company succeed. They might be willing to take such risk even if it means that some of their employees will be upset or angry with them—like when they let go of an employee who has been performing at a lower level than others and who has been underperforming in other areas as well and choose someone else who is more likely to achieve at a higher. Therefore, for Helen Schifter to be a good leader and manager, she has to know her people and their needs, communicate with them, listen to them, and motivate them to do what is best for the company. Motivation is the key to leadership, and it is the most critical skill for a leader. Furthermore, if she is a good leader, Schifter will have all the tools she needs to accomplish the goals that she has set for the company.

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About the Author

Mary Smith

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