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Is being a leader different from being a manager?

Peter Drucker is one of the most widely renowned management experts who contributed both practical and philosophical practices to the modern business industry. By publishing numerous management books and giving an endless number of talks on the subject of management and leadership, many viewed the late Drucker as an endless fount of information on the subject.

One of his most popular quotes, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things," is a beneficial piece of advice for fledgling or veteran bosses throughout the country. In Drucker's own words, quality leaders do not manage people, but the true "task is to lead people." There are several key differences between management and leadership. To become a better leader today, here are the qualities of a both a leader and a manager:

When hired, managers view their employees as subordinates. They are in a position of authority because they can plan and execute results efficiently and accurately. Under this approach, employees are not part of a team, they are the parts that keep a machine moving, easily replaced or fixed should the need arise.

Managers tend to be less adventurous, choosing to seek out well-worn paths for reaching a goal or finishing a project. This means that managers tend to be more risk-averse, along with heartily avoiding conflict. Without risk, there is little room for innovation or dynamic ideas. Some of the most recognized world leaders and entrepreneurs took chances, choosing to blaze their own trail rather than follow the road most traveled. While this approach may not always be successful, it does show others that you are serious about your mission. Unlike leaders, managers do not have missions, they have a checklist.

To identify if you are a manager, not a leader, here are a few clues

  • Managers focus on managing work.
  • Managers focus on short-term goals.
  • Managers make decisions.
  • Managers want control.
  • Mangers trade money for work.
  • Managers use existing roads for projects.
  • Managers establish truth.
  • Managers want results.
  • Managers blame others.
  • Mangers take credit.

Unlike managers, leaders view their employees as followers. They are not a means to an end, but rather essential components of an overall goal. To a quality leader, a department or office is comprised of potential teams and future leaders. They see potential in people before those employees are ever tested, ensuring that all of these team members receive the help and training they need to not only better the overall team, but themselves.

While good leaders do not have to be overly extroverted, they are charismatic and draw people in. Employees respect them for their ability to bring out the best in workers and aren't too afraid to express their concerns or suggestions to achieve even better results. While leaders don't have to be friends with all their employees, they are people-focused, making sure that their team's needs are met and that they are reaching their long-term goals. While managers get good work from their employees, leaders bring out the best.

To identify if you are a leader, not a manager, here are a few clues:

  • Leaders focus on leading people.
  • Leaders focus on long-term goals.
  • Leaders facilitate decisions.
  • Leaders want passion.
  • Leaders trade excitement for work.
  • Leaders pave new roads for projects.
  • Leaders seek truth.
  • Leaders want achievement.
  • Leaders take the blame.
  • Leaders give credit when its due.

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