What’s the difference between a manager and a leader?
While both are responsible for a group of people who are, in turn, accountable for fulfilling specific goals and tasks, the dissimilarity lies in the approach.
A manager has the authority and directive to assign tasks which must compel the team toward accomplishing directives. Many managers drive their teams by those responsibilities; meaning, they consider the result rather than the manner in how the job is achieved or the input of staff. An employee may feel “micromanaged,” rather than part of a team.
A leader has the same authority but will accomplish directives by establishing a sense of team. The leader treats the employees as people who have ideas and a voice toward achieving a strategy. A leader desires employees to buy into a strategic plan because s/he knows if the staff sees the vision, it builds both the team and the organization.
Both a manager and a leader can generate enthusiasm, but a leader sees employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Typically, the leader will assign staff to projects or areas in which they can excel as well as meet responsibilities.
Rather than dictate the style of job performance, a leader will coach an employee. Therefore, the employee is not only engaged in the process but is challenged to understand and learn. Studies document that an empowered employee not only contributes positively to the ROI of a company but also remains loyal and committed to the firm’s objectives.
This strategic approach is developmental; that is, it tends to groom the next generation to succeed the current executive team, who usually pass on the development learning style downline.
A manager might be so task-focused that s/he takes credit for the work of his team. A leader, however, gives credit when it is due and expresses appreciation for the teamwork. Sharing of credit or rewards builds confidence, trust, and loyalty in the team members.
Finally, when employees are fully engaged in their work, their productivity improves because they are motivated. They not only understand their place in the wheel but also understand how the cogs in the wheel turn together toward the ultimate objectives of the company.
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