Companies today are filled to the brim with managers – senior managers, middle managers, junior managers, and more. With managers at every level, however, companies often lack leadership. Most businesspeople know
how to manage their businesses, but few know how to lead.
Leader vs. manager: these are two different things. Management is all about planning, organizing, and coordinating ongoing activities, while leadership is about inspiring and motivating people to be the best that they can be. People work for managers, while people believe in and follow leaders. It’s a big difference.
It’s not surprising that employees today crave not just
management but leadership. Management is a necessary part of any business, but
leadership is something more.
Leader vs. Manager Characteristics
There are many ways that leadership
differs from management. True leaders go beyond mere managers in four important
ways. Let’s look at the difference between managers and leaders in the
Praise vs. Criticism
In style, leader vs. manager often comes down to praise vs.
Managers tend to manage by measurement. They keep score of
everything an employee does right and wrong, then focus on pointing out the
mistakes as things that need fixing. While managing from such a scorecard is
the traditional way to measure performance, it doesn’t inspire employees to go
much beyond what is typically expected of them.
Leaders see employees as more than just marks on a report
card. They want their team to think of themselves as part of something bigger,
working together to achieve larger goals. They do this by praising performance,
not by criticizing it. Such praise drives people to do even better, and it’s
how leaders get more out of their teams.
Creating vs. Measuring
Managers are all about measuring things. They measure
performance to plan. They measure market share. They measure the value of
assets. They measure anything they can measure.
Leaders view things differently. Instead of measuring value,
they seek to create it. Instead of measuring market share, they seek to create
new markets. Instead of measuring performance they seek to create new forms of
Leadership is all about creating. They don’t spend much, if
any, time analyzing past performance; their time is better spent dreaming of
new opportunities than measuring what happened before.
Influence vs. Control
Managers like to make plans and give orders. They don’t
inspire their employees; they exert control.
Leaders, on the other hand, are more about influencing
others. Instead of telling people what to do, they inspire others to do what
needs to be done.
Leadership goes beyond mere management. Leadership is more
about motiving and enabling others to do their best. It’s not just about making
sure work gets done, it’s about getting the entire team to do everything they
can do to contribute to the organization’s success.
Think of it this way. A manager’s staff does what they’re
told to do. A leader’s team does what they’re inspired to do. And leaders
inspire many more than their immediate employees; a true leader is someone who
people throughout the company come to for advice. That doesn’t happen much if
someone only manages.
Visions vs. Plans
Another instance of a leader vs. a manager comes down to visions vs. plans.
Managers have plans. They set short-term plans at the beginning of each year and long-term plans that stretch out five years or more. They write business plans and marketing plans and digital plans for what happens online. They run their roles based on the plans they set.
Managers are also about goals, setting goals and achieving them
and measuring performance to those goals. They have sales goals and hiring
goals and budget goals expansion goals.
Leaders don’t worry so much about goals and plans. Their
focus is on something beyond that. Leaders have vision; they see the world or
their business as it should be, as they think it will be in the future. It’s
that vision that drives them, not some need to achieve an arbitrary numerical
goal or check a point off some subjective plan.
Vision helps to inspire others. A good leader gets his team
to believe in his vision, and to follow him in pursuit of that. A vision is
bigger than a goal or a plan, bigger than any individual manager, sometimes
bigger than even the company itself. A vision is something people can believe
Goals and plans don’t inspire. They help provide direction,
they create ways to measure performance, and they tell a manager and a company
where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. But they don’t
encourage people or companies to think beyond what was planned or to explore
new opportunities that might arise.
Managers march in lockstep to the drumbeat of the plans,
while leaders dance to different music that could lead them anywhere.
Employees Want Leaders, Not Managers
Employees today want effective leadership. Managers can make
the trains run on time, but leaders make their teams and their individual
employees more successful.
Why do employees cry out for better
leadership? There are many reasons.
Employees want leaders that provide guidance, not managers
who give orders. They want leaders that motivate, not managers who demand. They
want leaders who create change, not managers that react to change.
Leaders inspire employees to be the best they can be because
that’s what leaders need. Leaders make employees feel important because, to
leaders, they are important. Leaders
make their teams successful because they’re always looking forward to something
Employees might need management, but they crave leadership.
They want to feel valued, feel as if they’re an important part of the team.
Employees will follow a great leader anywhere, and that’s what helps to make
Let Mapertunity Help You Find Leaders for Your Company
Does your company have more managers than leaders? Mapertunity is the world’s first fully-transparent,
interactive job map. We help people find the right job in the right location –
and can help you find the people who can lead your company into the future.
If your company needs leaders, contact us at
Mapertunity! We’re here to help.