The terms “manager” and “leader” are often used interchangeably, but the truth is that they describe very different roles. Although both managers and leaders often stand at the head of an organisation and direct the path that a company takes, their attitudes and approaches are entirely different.
While a manager could be someone who teaches their employees what the future of a business should look like, and how they can achieve specific goals, a leader is someone who creates a vision of success and inspires their team to connect and engage with the idea.
As a result, their team will want to follow, and in doing so, they will be committed to facing and overcoming whatever obstacles, they face as well as any uncertainties and risks.
Often, a distinction is made in which management means “doing things right”, while leadership involves “doing the right things”. While most people will share the characteristics of both great leaders and great managers, the following differences could help you establish which you are today and which you may prefer to be.
1. Vision Vs Strategy
A leader is typically someone who thinks more about the “big picture” for a team, brand, or company, rather than focusing on which systems and processes will be needed to realise the vision.
Leaders outline the direction of the route they want to take and communicate the goals and milestones that need to be achieved along the way. Then they empower their teams and give them the freedom to achieve the goals. These professionals know what they want to accomplish, and believe in the ability of their team members to find the best path to success.
Alternatively, managers focus more on what needs doing, what systems and processes are used and if they are being utilised in the ‘right way’. You could say that managers focus on managing ‘things’ rather than people.
Leaders consider the overall vision to be the most important factor in success, while managers concentrate on the details of how to bring that vision to life. The reality is an organisation requires
A great leader relies on imagination and creativity intended to motivate a group of employees towards a shared ambition. A manager looks at what worked for them in the past and builds a strategy based on numbers, data, and measurable results; specifying exactly what needs to be completed to reach a goal. One doesn’t work without the other. Often, however, individuals have a natural preference for one of these roles. Both can also be learnt.
2. Growth Vs Sustainability
When a manager thinks about how they can be successful, they’re often concerned with devising a plan to sustain whatever they’re managing. They are inclined to look for the best ways to keep a system working for as long as possible. While they may look for improvements, a leader is more likely to look for change and innovation. The latter provides greater opportunity for development and growth, both of systems and people.
A leader is more willing to take risks because they know the only way to evolve, is to change, they inspire others to do the same.
3. People Vs Systems
A great manager knows how to create a system for success. They evaluate the strategies used in the past to make informed decisions about the future. Managers not only put the right systems into place for exceptional results, but they also know how to get the right employees involved within that system too – delegating tasks to the people with the most appropriate skills.
By focusing on the people behind the work, managers can access an incredible amount of knowledge that’s impossible to achieve with a company handbook. While managers are crucial to organisational success, a leader recognises what it takes to motivate people, inspire change, and encourage action.
4. Courage Vs Discipline
As we have already mentioned, a manager tends to be more risk averse their focus is on bringing a strategy to life by following using systems, processes and guidelines. They keep individuals in their team on track and make sure that everything comes together as planned. They often have an attention to detail and can monitor progress ensuring deadlines are met.
Contrastingly, a leader’s life is often filled with risk and uncertainty. Leaders make decisions based on educated risks when planning what’s next for the business and team. Sometimes this can involve setting a course that takes the company and team into uncharted waters.
To shoulder such decisions, taking both responsibility and accountability requires courage. Generally,
leaders have a plentiful supply of it.
About Resource on Demand
Resource on Demand is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Company. We assist the world’s leading organisations in growing their technology teams. Supporting companies to fill roles that span across digital marketing, marketing automation, Human Capital Management, CRM system management and, Salesforce developer, Salesforce consultant and Salesforce admin jobs.
The team at Resource on Demand have access to an extensive database of key talent, registering over 8000 professionals each year. To find out how we can support you call us on +44 (0)20 8123 7769