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7 Ways To Tell The Difference Between Real Leadership and Good Management

7 Ways To Tell The Difference Between Real Leadership and Good Management

People often wrongly assume that management and leadership are synonyms. Nothing could be further from the truth. The roles and responsibilities of a leader and a manager are quite different. Here are 7 examples to show you that they are like chalk and cheese.

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker, Essential Drucker: Management, the Individual and Society

1. A manager deals with tasks while a leader develops relationships

A manager has to deal with day to day tasks when running the business. These can be anything from budget control, staff training, customer service or introducing a new product. The manager will be focusing on deadlines and procedures. Many of these are used as benchmarks for measuring success.

A leader will be focused on empowering people within the organization and cultivating influential contacts outside the company. He or she will spend much time and energy in motivating staff.

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2. A manager will rarely think outside the box while a leader will engineer change

A leader is concerned with a vision for the company and will be looking to the future. Leaders know that change may be vital for stability in an uncertain economy.

Steve Jobs was highly regarded as a leader because his focus and vision were always to the forefront in his company. He was constantly on the look out for great talent which could help him put that vision into practice. It is said that Jobs interviewed over 5,000 applicants during his life.

Managers tend to work within the limits set by project descriptions and individual job plans and will rarely recommend change. Managers need to have excellent people skills which are all focused on getting the job done with the minimum of friction.

3. A leader seeks to empower while a manager looks to micro manage

A leader will see empowered employees as an asset to the company. He or she does not see them as a threat when they take initiative and run a risk.

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Managers, on the other hand, prefer to delegate and micro manage so that they still maintain control. They also want to preserve the status quo rather than go outside the boundaries.

4. A manager will maintain systems while a leader will inspire followers

The leader’s role is to gain followers by influencing them. This is the only way to move people forward in line with your vision.

A manager can rarely play that role as he or she will be focused on getting tasks done within guidelines and deadlines.

5. A leader will use emotional intelligence while a manager may be less aware

Daniel Goleman has written an interesting article entitled The Focused Leader in which he highlights the role of emotional intelligence in great leadership. He says that the key to emotional intelligence is self awareness. This helps to develop empathy, motivation, social skills and self-control which will be key in effective leadership.

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Many managers will also possess emotional intelligence (EQ) which they will use in managing employees with tact and sensitivity. However, some mangers are unaware of how crucial EQ is and tend to veer towards analytical thinking and technical skills as measures of achievement.

6. A leader will exploit opportunities while a manager avoids risk

There is always a risk in seizing an opportunity. The successful leader will instinctively be able to assess the target market, the resources required and also what the level of risk is involved. She or he will be able to build on a crisis knowing that the hard times often provide great opportunities.

Managers tend to avoid risk. They are much more concerned with helping employees reach their potential and also making sure that their objectives are met.

7. A leader needs much more charisma than a manager

If a leader can use empathy, social sensitivity and relate easily to others while displaying intelligence and charm, then she or he is considered to be charismatic. Using eye contact, appropriate touching and displaying warmth and interest through active listening; these are the marks of a charismatic person.

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Now, whether you are a manager or a leader, why not try the charisma quiz and see what your score is.

We have identified the roles and responsibilities of managers and leaders. Often, it is not so cut and dried. The roles of managers and leaders often overlap and there are many managers who are doubling up as leaders when the latter are failing to take the lead!

Featured photo credit: Sustainability for Leaders/ The Natural Step Canada . via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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