A Manager Versus A Leader. What is the difference?

Are all managers leaders?  The answer is “yes”!  However, it is positional leadership.  Just because a person is in a position of leadership does not mean that the person is a good leader!  The positional leader (manager) has power to affect his or her subordinates lives in positive and negative ways.  A manager can put pressure on an employee to do things a specific way within a specific time by threatening them with job termination, requiring overtime, or a bad performance review.  The problem with this approach is that it seldom achieves the desired result that a manager is after.  Managing in this manner alienates the employee and makes them feel disrespected and under appreciated, which often leads to poorer performance on the employees part or the employee seeking other employment.  According to the book “The Prince”, written by Niccolo Machiavelli, there are only two methods of leadership – through intimidation and coercion or by gaining the respect and admiration of those that you lead. 

True, or good, leaders always follow the latter method.  A good leader will look for ways to encourage their subordinates to become the best they can become.  They look for ways to praise a person for the work they do and gently encourage improvement in the way that they perform.  They are quick to point out the good qualities that a person has; then, and only then, do they go on to gently point out ways that the person could improve their performance.  They are quick to share team successes with the actual people who do the work rather than taking credit themselves for the team’s success.  They always remember that they are only as good as their team and that without the employees there would be no successes.  When an employee fails, they will point out their own past failures first and will offer suggestions on how the employee may have achieved success rather than experienced failure.  They take a genuine interest in their employees and their personal lives – not just their professional lives.  After all, how can a leader influence anyone that he or she doesn’t really know or understand?  Being a good leader involves knowing what really motivates his or her employees and the only way to know that is to genuinely get to know each of the people he or she is trying to lead.  Great leaders look for leadership qualities in each of their employees and focus on building on those qualities.  The ultimate goal of a leader should be to develop a team of leaders.  By doing so, there will be far more team successes than team failures.

A positional leader wants to be the center of attention and, therefore, assures that he or she will have limited success where a true leader will experience unlimited success because he or she is genuinely interested in the success of each of his or her subordinates.  A true leader is not threatened by the talents and success of the people they lead.  Be a great leader and build team success by teaching your subordinates to be leaders themselves.  This assures that there is no need to micro-manage employees and will put you in a position to grow in your own leadership journey!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *