Unexplored Leader vs. Manager Comparisons

Are you a leader or a manager? Below are five unexplored comparisons I see between leaders and managers.

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  1. Toes vs. Heels: Leaders deliver a well thought out action plan complete with feedback from the team. This plan is derived from forward thinking and understanding of opportunity.  Leaders are on their toes.  Managers react.  They react to challenges, react to opportunities, and react to being constantly on their heels.
  2. Open Door vs. Closed Door: Doors are opportunities.  Leaders will open doors for others, and in turn doors will open for them.  Managers will keep the door closed for their talent and likely will have the door slammed in their face when the talent leaves the manager left wondering what happened when he or she departs for someone who will.
  3. Inspirational vs. Non-Inspirational: This one is pretty simple.  If you can’t inspire others to: believe, take action, take on risk, and challenge failure in the face, you are a manager.  This also applies to using fear.  Using fear is the least motivational tactic available and one widely used by managers.
  4. Why vs. What: Leaders will deliver the WHY behind what everyone is doing.  The manager only focuses on what everyone is doing.
  5. Explosive vs. Incremental: Great leaders will inspire explosive growth because the magnitude of their efforts is multiplied through the efforts of the believers.  Managers will manage the incremental.  Small amounts of growth are possible, through massive amounts of management.

The journey to become a better leader is a long one and it must be embraced.  It’s HARD because external factors are always at play.  There are times when I find myself being a manager and remind myself of the greater purpose for my life and my goals.  My talents are wasted if I’m spending time “managing” the activities of others.  I need to be leading from the front.

ACTION ITEM:  Actions speak louder than words.  To change your style to that of a leader, you have to live it and lead from the front.  No one is perfect.  Focus your efforts on constant improvement.(Kaizen)