Are You a Leader or a Manager?

Training the trainers

Image by The U.S. Army via Flickr

One important distinction to ask yourself when doing a self-evaluation would be: am I a manager or a leader? The answer will depend on many factors. One defining characteristic of leaders however is an ability to command the respect and attention of peers and accomplish projects, tasks, and goals with the help of a team. Managers may be the head of a group of people also but often they are in charge of a task or process.  Jay Hargis writes more about the difference between leadership and management. 

Oftentimes, we discuss management in terms of the ability to get work done through others. However, as organizations have become flatter, we have many managers who manage process and programs vs. people. Are they any less of a manager? In fact, most compensation and promotion programs move people through at least the title of manager on their way to director so the true scope of the work that the manager is responsible for has changed.

Who makes a good manager? If I had the silver bullet answer to this question, I would be wealthy beyond imagination. However, we can examine what seems to make some managers successful and others not so successful. Most managers have one common trait–that is the ability to manage both tasks and process. That is why there are so many people out there with the word “manager” in their job title. However, many of them don’t manage people. Think about it, there are thousands of project managers out there with no direct reports. They manage the process but not the people. They have influence but not direct responsibility.

…More at What are the Differences in Leadership and Management?

How many times do we hear the term manager when leader is more apt? Vice versa? In common speech the two terms are used interchangeably when in fact they could have very different meanings. A leader is someone whom people will readily listen to and take action for. A manager could be in charge of other people but is not necessarily so. Are you a leader or a manager?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>