A sense of leadership is a quality that all managers strive for – an ability to effectively motivate and guide their employees to success. But where many employers fail to hit the mark is in understanding exactly what separates a manager from a leader. Admittedly, leadership is a somewhat abstract concept, and as much a state of mind as a skill or talent – but for employers to flourish within their roles, it’s essential to know how they can transition from management to leadership.
So we know that managers aren’t, by nature, leaders – but how can they be?
Obligation vs. Inclination
Managers are paid to administer orders to employees – who, in turn, are paid to follow them. Where leadership shows is in an ability to innovate and inspire your team, helping them to grow as employees and perform above and beyond their roles – as opposed to merely performing full-stop. Once you’ve mastered real leadership, you’ll have a team of staff motivated to excel themselves, rather than contracted to work.
The Task vs. the Team
While a manager sees the job at hand and how it can be completed, a true leader looks at the team of individuals set for the task – and acknowledges their efforts throughout the process. This encouraging and motivational approach to work inspires employees and clearly demonstrates their value. Instead of viewing a project as a box to check upon completion, see a group of employees collaborating for a shared success.
Control vs. Counsel
Management involves making sure that employees fulfill their required roles, disciplining for underperformance where necessary – with operations revolving around control rather than encouragement. Employees follow a manager because they have to – whereas they follow leaders through respect and inspiration. A leader works with their employees, communicating with them every step of the way, rather than expecting employees to work for them unconditionally.
Risk vs. Reward
Leadership requires a healthy sense of risk and the ambition to pursue greater success. Managers without leadership skills may be satisfied with stagnance, unwilling to achieve beyond what is expected – but by going further and seeking more, you can differentiate yourself as a leader. To differentiate yourself from a mere manager, embrace a willingness to challenge the status quo when there are rewards for taking the initiative.
Today vs. Tomorrow
A manager sees the task at hand and its means of completion, maintaining a short-term and often isolated view of projects. A leader, however, is able to look at the big picture and the long-term, always looking for the route to greater success and plans for holistic development. By fostering a sense of loyalty in your team, you can cultivate these forward-thinking initiatives and experience sizeable and sustainable success.
By understanding how to fulfil your management role while demonstrating leadership, you can grow as an employer and watch as your employees and the business grow with you.
Tori Atkinson is a content creator for Win That Bid, the UK’s largest bid writing and proposal specialists – helping companies across the country to win big new business.