Whether you run a landscaping business or are a wholesaler for electrical goods, you'll be expected to do your job, mitigate risks, build profit, manage your career profile, and be a worker, manager, and leader for any teams you're a part of.
You might think that being a manager and a leader are the same thing; however, there are key differences. Let's look at some of the best examples of a difference in attitude between management and leadership:
1. Managers Are Reactive, Leaders Are Proactive
As a manager, you'll be given your instructions. If something doesn't go to plan, a good manager will react to the bad news (or good news) accordingly. Displaying leadership is about more than that though; if you are a strong leader, you will anticipate changes and prepare in advance, steering your team to safety and ever-increasing profits.
Leaders who are proactive typically have a calm demeanor and roll with the punches. They also have confidence that their teams can overcome any challenge that may arise. This creates a less stressful environment for teams, knowing there is a plan of action and contingencies in place for when things don't go as planned. Of course, as with all things, good leaders need to take on managing and leading rolls.
2. Managers Have Employees, Leaders Have Followers
You'll manage a group of five or 10 as a good manager at a small company. As a manager, your team will be fixed. You'll react to situations, and your team will report to you. However, if you become known as a leader, then your team will come to you for help--but so will members of other teams. Being known as the guy or girl who gets ideas and acts decisively is the way to become a natural leader, and to increase your value one-hundredfold in business.
Leaders also nurture their teams to become leaders. They do this by seeing who their employees can become with the right training and resources, and not worrying too much about what the employees are like today. Leaders also create more leaders by creating key performance indicators instead of telling employees what to do. Leaders also know that becoming a leader takes time, and they give their employees room to make mistakes and learn from them.
3. Managers Manage Groups, Leaders Create Teams
This is corollary to the point above--as a manager, you'll manage your staff. As a leader, you realize that you are the director in a play--every person isn't one of the group, they are a unique cog that is vital to the running and promotion of the system as a whole. This is a key change of attitude that will bring out the best in your workforce. Vrej Sarkissian, CEO of Anoush Catering, says "When we help our employees work together as a team, we're able to put together astounding events for our customers. Our teamwork even enables us to give back to our community in a meaningful way. We value each member of our team as an integral piece of the machine and our customers can really see how it makes us a seamless unit instead of individuals."
4. Managers Shift Responsibility, Leaders Take Responsibility
Managers delegate tasks. They also delegate blame. We've all worked for that manager who wants to try out his new idea, yet when his own manager comes and asks what's going on suddenly your manager has no knowledge of the scheme. If you want to be respected as a leader, this can never happen. Leaders take responsibility.
5. Leaders Will Stand and Be Counted
A manager will keep their mouth shut, run everything smoothly, and then go home when the work is done. A leader won't. A leader is constantly pitching. Constantly making it count. Constantly trying to rework things both lower and higher in the hierarchy to make things work better.
6. Leaders Will Do What Needs to Be Done
There will be times when it gets hard. Really hard. You might have to let someone go. You might have to tell the team it's time for a pay cut, or that longer hours are needed. The key feature of a strong leader is that when the time comes, you are ready to do what needs to be done.