Do your managers see themselves as managers or as leaders?  It’s very common to see the terms leader and manager as interchangeable but in this blog, we want to highlight some important differences because they significantly impact business outcomes and profits.

Both leaders and managers have the authority and power to direct their employees in their tasks, assignments and responsibilities. But do employees complete their tasks with focus, motivation and passion OR do they complete their work begrudgingly, just going through the motions?

By definition, being a leader of people implies that there are followers.  An effective leader has willing and active followers. The opposite of that might be a manager who is not too concerned about building commitment and engagement within their team and is simply coordinating the workloads to ensure objectives and deadlines are met.  Where do your managers fall on this spectrum?

The key point is that motivated employees offer many benefits to organizations in terms of performance, retention, creative ideas, work quality and more.  A manager’s leadership style has a huge influence on all these outcomes. 

The chart below illustrates the difference between a manager and true leader:

But what can someone, who is responsible for other people and their performance results, do to become a true leader with committed followers? Here are a few actions that help leaders cultivate willing followers:

  • Coaching and support to help employees grow: Assisting employees in finding answers instead of providing them with answers cultivates critical thinking and fosters ownership. 
  • Showing appreciation for employee effort and recognizing their accomplishments: Catching employees going above and beyond expectations and recognizing this (hopefully soon after the event) demonstrates that the leader is constantly looking for opportunities to build spirit, boost performance and cultivate desired attitudes and behaviors. 
  • Finding meaning and purpose in work:  If your managers/leaders help employees find meaning in their work, employees see how their contribution supports the company mission, vision and goals, and this helps improve performance and increase accountability.
  • Building trust and strong working relationships: Trust is built by the way the manager interacts and communicates with employees.  This includes being transparent, consistently delivering on promises and acting on employee ideas.  
  • Creating a great workplace and experience: By creating a work environment based on sound principles of leadership managers will cultivate enthusiastic and committed employees while building pride and team spirit.  These principles include credibility, respect, fairness, creating a sense of community, helping employees learn from their work and fostering teamwork and collaboration.   

Are your managers true leaders or are they simply delegating assignments and dealing with problems? If your managers were better at just one practice mentioned in this blog, which one would you choose?  What difference would that make for the organization?  If your organization could use support to help managers become leaders who deliver greater team performance, improved retention, increased efficiency and innovation, contact us. We have several solutions you may want to consider.

In our next blog we will focus on what support and actions organizations can take to help managers become leaders.  Stay tuned!