1. Leaders inspire while managers operate
Leaders are meant to trigger a movement and inspire people to take action. Managers enforce rules and make sure orders are carried out. There is more flexibility with leadership, as the main purpose is to get people to be motivated enough to do what is required of them. Being a manager requires no real flexibility — it is an act of operation. A leader becomes a visionary leader when he/she has a vision and can inspire others to take the journey toward it’s fulfilment.
2. Leaders help others to become heroes while managers try to be the heroes themselves
You can’t be in two places at once. Leaders don’t try to be the heroes of an organization or of a situation. They want to help others gain functionality and be the best they can be. Being a manager, on the other hand, can bring on more selfish motives. Leaders empower others to do their best work.
I have come to believe that the majority of leaders operate out of self-interest. It’s natural. Self-interest is our hard-wiring and it’s celebrated in our culture. To put others before self is to go against our own grain – and that of everyone around us. In fact, a recent research study from scientists at CalTech and Harvard confirms this conclusion. In a controlled research setting, people chose outcomes that benefitted themselves roughly five times as often as they chose to help out others
3. Leaders take responsibility while managers take credit
Managers gain credit for their work. They are acknowledged and offered something immediate for their efforts. However, leaders take responsibility and are accountable towards their team and to the greater success of the project or task at hand.
Self-interest hurts the people who count on us for leadership. It holds back the performance results of the enterprise or team we lead. It fails to prepare next generation leaders for success.
This is the reason I have prodded you to reflect on your motives. The future of our world depends on our leaders – and their ability to overcome self-interest.
Ok here’s a bonus one!
4. Leaders create teams while managers direct groups
Leaders earn their following and then do well to weave this team around a central purpose. Managers do well to assign activities or assignments to a number of persons within an organizational structure, without giving them the same sense of working toward a central purpose. Leaders are always thinking about who’s next, who is being developed.