Successful companies need leaders. They also need managers. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they’re not synonymous. If you run your own business, or are the person responsible for talent management, it’s important to understand the differences between managers and leaders, to be able to spot key leadership skills, and to know how to develop people into leaders.
Managers vs. Leaders
“Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” (Peter Drucker, author, educator and management consultant)
Every manager isn’t a leader, nor is every leader a manager. When the two roles are balanced within your organization, you’ve found the secret to success.
- The basic mindset of a manager differs from that of a leader. Managers have direct reports, and they monitor and track progress. They focus on systems and structures – and that’s all good. A leader can be any employee who steps up to inspire and motivate others. With a focus more on the end goal than the day-to-day, leaders make everyone on their team feel empowered and encourage them to learn and grow.
- Managers plan details, while leaders set direction. While managers focus on delegating specific tasks, leaders seek out experts in different areas and enjoin them to create teams of people whose strengths and weaknesses balance each other out for peak performance.
- Leaders give their teams direction and trust that everyone can do their jobs, without micromanaging. This is not to say managers aren’t trusting or trustworthy, only that they may fit one of two common molds: those who lose sight of the bigger picture by trying to oversee every single project detail, or those who spend too much time trying to appease a variety of people who have different ideas about the same tasks.
Promoting someone to a manager doesn’t make them a leader. But you may find great leadership potential within promising members of your management team. Or, you may find those leaders elsewhere, so keep your eyes open for diamonds in the rough.
Crucial Leadership Skills
There are numerous core skills that constitute strong leadership. When you spot an employee with leadership potential, help them further develop in areas including:
- Communication: Active listening, emotional intelligence, having difficult and courageous conversations, and honing their written and verbal skills.
- Coaching: There’s an important difference between knowing how to do something and teaching someone else how to do it. Teams succeed when their leaders understand how to give feedback on both the technical and motivational aspects of their work.
- Teamwork: Leading collaboration is different from being an individual contributor. Leaders recognize the contributions of each team member and encourage their continued input and contributions.
Training and development, including spotting the potential leaders within your organization and turning that potential into reality, are among the specialties of the staffing and workforce strengthening experts at PrideStaff Modesto. Our mission is to deliver what matters most to you, starting with a better imprint for hiring, promoting, and ensuring your team members and your company are positioned for long-term growth and success. Contact us today to learn more.