We live in a competitive world; everyone seems to be competing to be the best in their field or a step above their peers. Especially in the competitive workplace environment, the words leader and manager are used interchangeably to denote the position people are working hard to rise up to. However, while many leaders occupy managerial positions, not all manager are leaders. The main difference is that being a leader is a trait, while being a manager is a job position.  For the sake of this post we will generalize the term manager to only include those who do not have the traits of leaders.

manager yelling

What are traits of a manager?

Managers tend to be hardworking individuals, whose potential to become true leaders is often stunted by their short-term objective focus. They have company goals and are set on achieving such standards throughout projects, at any cost. A manager is typically focused on performance and metrics, which isn’t entirely bad. However, often managers, forget the human aspect of labor, the variety in personality and strengths of each individuals, often leading to decreased improvement of employees. Managers have an impersonal approach to their team members, often seeing their views and opinions as inferior to their own.

What are traits of a leader?

Leaders, on the other hand, are selfless and focused on continual self-improvement of others. Leaders see the people they direct as equals, and create opportunities for other to share ideas. They also recognize strengths of others and assign roles that will work them to their full potential. While managers are focused on the goals, leaders are focused on the people to achieve those goals. Leaders really stand out to most of us as they are great to be around, optimistic, deliver direct constructive feedback, and bring out the best in others. Leaders also don’t settle for processes that don’t work, they are creative and build off others to develop novel solutions.


How can I become a leader, and not just a manager?

Anyone who is a manager has the potential to become a true leader, it only requires a change of mindset from me to we. This is to mean, a manager needs to focus more of their attention on their teammates improvement then on their own personal success in order to become a true leader. Here are a few more steps to consider taking to become a leader in your organization:

  • communicate to your employees your desire to help 
  • ask sincere questions, and listen more
  • learn the strengths of your employees, recognize them and use them
  • ask others to help you recognize your own weakness and work to change them
  • set personal and team accountability standards
  • set clear goals and execute your strategies

Good leader also use great tools to analytically track the performance of their teams and projects. KPI Fire is the ideal tool for leaders to set measurable standards and metrics to evaluate project performance. Click here to sign-up for a free trial today.

Image sources: http://strengthscopeus.com/how-to-stay-strong-as-a-leader-in-uncertain-times/  https://www.excella.com/insights/role-of-a-manager-in-agile-scrum-team  https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2014/08/14/silicon-valleys-nightmare-bosses-revealed-in.html#i/601171