Confusing management with leadership

I am not someone who is motivated by grand job titles, so it confused me somewhat when a part of a company that I worked for changed the job title of some of its supervisors from “Team Leader” to “Team Manager”.  I suspected that the decision was made by someone who thought that being a “Manager” sounded more important than being a “Leader”.  I can already find myself disagreeing with this point-of-view.  At that point in my career, I don’t think I understood the difference as I do now, but one of the Senior Leaders in the part of the business that I worked in didn’t follow the trend.

What is a Manager?

There are numerous ways in which you can describe the role of a manager.  Managers carry out things like

  • performance management
  • work allocation
  • reward decision-making
  • hiring and firing
  • delivery of the corporate messages

Although this is not a comprehensive list of duties, what you will see is a list of activities that impact their staff.  The manager in such a situation is expected to be the vehicle through which the company interacts with its staff.

What is a Leader?

This might be a more difficult question to answer, but here’s a few ideas about what leaders might do:

  • coach others to achieve their best performance
  • be an expert, can lead from the workplace
  • can share workload, ensuring that everyone plays to their strengths
  • can interpret corporate messages, delivering meaning

You might think that I’m suggesting that managers can’t be leaders, by choosing different styles of words for the two categories, and maybe I am!

The real differences between leaders and managers

What really separates leaders from managers is simple:

Managers have to push their staff into delivering whereas people will follow leaders and deliver more!

A simple statement may start you thinking about how you are working today.  Are you a leader or a manager?  I’m sure there are merits in both camps, but I have worked for people managers as well as leaders, and I have a strong preference for leaders.  If I think back over my career, I see only a few leaders who got the best out of me; these people created space and opportunities for me to grow as a person, as well as to be able to deliver value to the business.

If you’re an aspiring leader, feel free to comment on this post!

One thought on “Confusing management with leadership

  1. Pingback: What could you do instead of relating performance and pay? | Andy's Blog

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