Friday, May 31, 2013

Managers vs Leaders

There's a lot of hype online about "leadership" lately. I don't believe that the average worker really grasps what a leader is, so their expectations are low. Low for their company's leadership and low for their own aptitude to become a leader. I didn't know. I had a juvenile idea of leadership: the kid on the playground who was loud, dominant, often quick, and sometimes threatening. Those qualities may be relevant in some groups, but undesirable nevertheless... My first graduate school assignment was to write a 1200 word essay explaining the difference between managers and leaders. (Just so you know, it was a Master of Science in Management degree.) I really had never thought much about those two terms before, I just thought that managers were delegators of work and did performance evals, which they do, but I had never understood what differentiates a manager from a leader. Basically, a leader is a visionary. A leader is the inspiration to go the distance and reach the goal, whatever that goal may be... Who wouldn't prefer to be managed by a leader? In fact, who wouldn't prefer to have others around who have these leadership traits:

Managers give answers. Leaders ask questions.
Managers criticize mistakes. Leaders call attention to mistakes indirectly.
Managers forget to praise. Leaders reward even the smallest improvement.
Managers focus on the bad. Leaders emphasize the good.
Managers want credit. Leaders credit their teams.

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