Top Tips for Businesses: Are you a leader or a manager?

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The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them. A successful business owner needs to be both a strong leader and manager to get their team on board to follow them towards their vision of success. Or in other words, Managers do things right, Leaders do the right things.

What do managers do?

A manager is the member of an organisation with the responsibility of carrying out the four important functions of management: planning, organising, leading, and controlling.

But are all managers leaders? 

Most managers also tend to be leaders, but only IF they also adequately carry out the leadership responsibilities of management, which include communication, motivation, providing inspiration and guidance and encouraging employees to rise to a higher level of productivity.

Unfortunately, not all managers are leaders. Some managers have poor leadership qualities, and employees therefore follow their instructions because they are obligated to do so  not necessarily because they are influenced or inspired by the leader.

Managerial duties are usually a formal part of a job description; staff follow as a result of the professional title or designation. A manager’s chief focus is to meet organisational goals and objectives; they sometimes do not take much else into consideration. With the title comes the authority and the privilege to promote, hire, fire, discipline, or reward employees based on their performance and behaviour.

What do leaders do?

The primary difference between management and leadership is that leaders don’t necessarily hold or occupy a management position. Simply put, a leader doesn’t have to be an authority figure in the organisation; a leader can be anymore.

Unlike managers, leaders are followed because of their personality, behaviour and beliefs. A leader personally invests in tasks and projects and demonstrates a high level of passion for their work. Leaders take a great deal of interest in the success of their work colleagues, enabling them to reach their goals to satisfaction  these are not necessarily organisational goals though.

There isn’t always tangible or formal power that a leader possesses over his fellow employees. Temporary power is awarded to a leader and can be conditional based on the ability of the leader to continually inspire and motivate their colleagues.

In conclusion

Subordinates of a manager are required to obey orders while following is optional when it comes to leadership. Leadership works on inspiration and trust among employees; those who do wish to follow their leader may stop at any time. Generally, leaders are people who challenge the status quo.

Leadership is change-savvy, visionary, agile, creative, and adaptive. As a business grows the original core leaders may find managing unfamiliar staff a challenge, it requires a new set of skills. Fortunately, this can be learnt.

To view the ‘Are you a leader or a manager’ video please click here.

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With funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Plunkett is currently able to offer early-stage community businesses free advice and support on how to get their business off the ground, including guidance on community engagement, legal structures, business planning and raising the funds to do it.