Whether you self-identify as a leader or as a manager, few are capable of consistently being both. Truly understanding the grey area between who you are versus what you hope to be is a key to achieving professional success. Read through these five points to decide whether you’re a manager or a leader today and determine how you can most efficiently structure your business to include a healthy mixture of both.
- Value – Are you creating value for your business or are you calculating it? Most people tend to do a little of both. However, leadership in its purest form has an attuned capacity for creating value where none previously existed. Management on the other hand is more often concerned with maintaining current value, measuring it, and finding ways of ensuring it continues.
- Focus – Where does your mind spend most of its time? Leaders are forward-thinking and concerned with creating solutions to problems in the future that aren’t necessarily apparent in the now. Managers are likely to be more detail-oriented and focused—measuring the past and paying attention to the immediate to see that the executions of current strategies and the people executing those strategies are successful.
- Solutions – If all of your proposed solutions err on the side of compromising between two competing ideals you’re likely more of a manager than a leader. Managers are problem solvers and will tend to reconcile differences with compromise through existing power structures—similar to diplomats and mediators. Leaders however are less concerned with elements of compromise, and more concerned with the perception of what is right and the best way to accomplish an ideal end result.
- Adversity to risk— Leaders are more likely to take calculated risks in the pursuit of a greater goal, whereas managers—while perhaps personally open to change—are by their very position a product of organizational structure. More often than not a manager will seek to emphasize rationality and control in the implementation of new ideas, whereas a leader will seek to push implementation above all other hindrances.
- Perception of the self—Managers have a tendency to derive satisfaction from the successes of the existing order of affairs and see themselves more or less as stewards of institutions. Leaders, however, tend to identify less with institutions and more with the pursuit of success. Leaders certainly work and exist in organizations, but in contrast to managers, leaders are less likely to see their self-worth as tied to the organization or to institutional successes.
By understanding yourself and your employees you will be better able to identify organizational needs and create well-defined roles. It is only with a solid understanding of your aptitudes that you can identify what tasks are suited to your strengths and as such are likely to result in wins for your business, and what tasks are better suited to be outsourced. In creating companies that reflect a balance in both leadership and management you will be positioning your company for efficiency now and continued growth in the future.