Though the titles of manager and leader may appear at first to mean the same thing, they are actually quite different. It’s important to the success of your business to be both at the same time. Your reward will be motivated staff members and a productive work environment.

The qualities of a manager

A manager is someone who has people who report to them. With tasks that need to be accomplished, a manager has been appointed with authority over them subordinates and must keep them on task to meet deadlines. Subordinates will listen to their manager because they are being paid a salary to do so. Words that one might associate with a manager are: stability, objectives, control or reactive.

The qualities of a leader

Different than a manager, a leader has followers, and those who listen not because they have to but because they want to. Leaders have charisma and the influence to inspire those around them. A leader may think outside of the box and take risks to accomplish their vision. They motivate others not just to meet goals for a reward, but to become better people by doing so. Words associated with a leader include: change, vision, passion or proactive.

The best managers are also leaders

It’s true that managing and leading others takes time and practice. Some new managers may work at getting used to their role first. Then, by building trust and faith with their subordinates, managers can evolve into leaders, as well. The best way to do this is to “eat your own cooking,” or lead by example. That’s because a worker probably will not be inspired by a manager who can’t follow their own advice. For example, a worker who is told by their manager to work harder may become instantly unmotivated when the manager takes extra-long lunch breaks or frequent personal calls at work.

How do you know when you’ve become a leader?

As a manager aspiring to be a good leader, you may wonder when your transformation is complete. The following key indicators can give you a better idea:

  1. You help your subordinates to be their very best. Leaders work to motivate others rather than simply to manage them. It would then follow that the more value a subordinate brings to the company, the more effective the leader’s inspiration has been. That’s because leaders help their followers with skill development and career growth.
  2. People outside your department seek your advice. As a manager, you have workers who report directly to you. They must check in with you because they are required to. But when people outside your direct report seek your advice, it’s a good sign you’re perceived as a leader.
  3. Your subordinates are productive and creative. Are the people you manage simply going through the motions, completing their tasks and punching the clock? Or are they offering up suggestions for how to do things differently or better within your company? If it’s the latter, your leadership has probably inspired them to think outside the box. Leaders push for change and are able to motivate others to do the same.

Are you looking for new staff to lead?

If you are looking to supplement your workforce, McGrath Systems can help. We place skilled individuals in the fields of engineering, administration, information technology, human resources and marketing with positions in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. To learn more about how McGrath Systems will work with you to round out your workforce, contact us today.


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