As soon as you join a company, you quickly learn the difference between a good boss and a bad one. But do you know if your boss is just a good manager or a born leader? Although they may seem like the exact same thing, they’re actually worlds apart. Here’s how:
A manager will ensure that work is done, targets are met and all systems are functioning smoothly. These are major factors that are needed for every job and are key to an organization. So how exactly does a leader make things better? Well, a leader is innovative in his approach to getting things done, he/she does not deliver targets, but develops them. He is also focused on his people more than systems and processes.
You’ll soon see that in the presence of a leader, you’re automatically drawn to them. They don’t demand your attention, but rather command it. They don’t try to control you like a manager, but they manage to earn your trust.
The leader looks for the whys and whats, whereas the manager focuses on basic questions like the how and the when of problems. This often leads to a team that feels interrogated and unmotivated.
The differences don’t just end there, the leader is always looking at the horizon, what’s next and what can we do better. The manager is not too keen on these issues; he would rather stick to what he knows so that no lines are crossed. He looks at the bottom line, accepts the status quo and always maintains it.
Under good leadership, you’ll notice that there are no issues in a team. A leader will take the time to understand your strengths and weaknesses so that the right task is assigned to you. A manager, on the other hand, looks to get the task done. This task might not always play on your strengths and may weaken the team.
A leader builds on your strengths and helps you develop them. A manager, on the other hand, uses his strength and position to get things done. His focus is on how to get ahead and not how to develop a strong and smart employee.
When confronted with a task, you’ll see that a manager is like a dog with a bone. Nothing else exists as long as the task is at hand. Not only is this a bad environment to work in, as an employee, it also leaves you annoyed with the task. A leader if given the same task will help to create shared focus. This means that he will motivate and inspire you to WANT to accomplish the task. The task will becomes more of a fun challenge rather than a boring target.
Last but not the least, a manager is one who is always ready to take credit, but not responsibility. A leader is able to share credit and always accepts responsibility. He/She will stand by his/her team and see to it that you don’t lose faith in your work.
The list goes on, but if you find yourself excited to go to work, love the tasks given to you and feel appreciated at work, you’re in the presence of a good boss. If you don’t, then there is always time to make a change.
We would love to hear from you in the comments, share your worst manager stories and best leader stories with us.