Let’s say that in an alternate universe, you are the owner and CEO of a large corporation. Do you consider yourself a manager or a leader, or both? When it comes to determining what type of authority figure you’d most likely be, ask yourself this famous Machiavellian question:
Would I rather be feared than loved?
If you believe you’d rather be feared, then you fall under the qualifications of manager. However, if you chose being loved, you’re probably more of a leader.
Leadership and management are often thought of as synonymous, but they are NOT the same thing. The main difference between a leader and a manager is that leaders have people follow them, while managers have people who work for them.
Here are five more distinct traits of a leader and a manager:
- Leaders motivate, managers enforce.
Managers simply tell their employees what to do, with the promise of a reward, a.k.a. their pay, as the most basic end result.
Leaders give substance to the condition and emotions of their workers. They make sure the company’s goals are achievable, while guaranteeing and attesting that the growth of the team is an objective as well.
- Leaders ask “Why?” Managers ask “When?”
Leaders always have a reason as to why something is being done and focus on the development of the employee as they work, while managers are very time constrained and deadline conscious.
- Leaders inspire, managers simply instruct.
Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, believed that “It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.”
- Leaders seek risks, managers avoid them.
Continually learning from one’s mistakes is considered an asset by leaders, whereas managers seem have no time for slip-ups and try to avoid them at all costs.
- Leaders set an example for others, managers make an example out of others.
How would you feel if your actions or even worse – your mistakes – were laid out in the open for everyone to see and criticize? Although criticism is said to be a good thing, there will always be people who prefer lying low and just blending in. Deliberate on your disciplinary techniques. Being in the spotlight is not always beneficial to all employees.
Leaders will always have followers, hence the “monkey see, monkey do,” modus operandi, or approach, always proves to be effective.
The majority of bosses and CEOs would side with Machiavelli on this famous virtue, though. The most famous quote of his work, The Prince, is, after all, “Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”
But, take note of the word “IF”.
It is possible for you to be both.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
― Peter F. Drucker
Running an organization takes both the skills of a leader and a manager. Being a manager requires focusing on the work and tasks, where resources like planning, controlling, time management and organizing play a big role. On the other hand, leadership gives more importance to individuals, relationships, inspiration and values.
Nevertheless, just like everything in life, too much of anything is a bad thing. There has to be balance. Know when to unleash your dictator tendencies before you release your inner Hitler, while also carefully discerning whether the situation calls for a more peaceful Mahatma Gandhi-like resolution.