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10 differences between leaders and managers

A woman pointing to the word leadership

One of the main points people cite for job satisfaction is a clear investment by higher-ups in a company’s employees. It can be frustrating if your boss doesn’t seem interested in your career. But corporate coach and Huffington Post blogger Candidly Kim says knowing the difference between leaders and managers can help you set your expectations.

Here are Kim’s top 10 differences between leaders and managers:

1 A leader makes a long-term investment in his or her employees and wants to see them grow to their full potential. On the other hand, a manager is only concerned with the here and now, only making sure you can complete the task at hand.

2 Leaders are confident in their abilities and that shines through in their actions. Managers question their competency and seek validation from others.

3 A leader will correct your mistakes in a constructive and helpful way so you can learn, while a manager might warn or threaten you and you’ll often leave their office feeling defeated.

4 Leaders are naturally good at time management and will always make sure there is time to meet with you. A manager struggles with his or her schedule and can’t prioritise as well as a leader. It’s probably up to you to make appointments with them.

5 A leader has tact and knows when to be personable and when to be professional, meaning they understand you and set realistic expectations. Managers sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time and often have the wrong attitude when dealing with employees.

6 A leader won’t see you as competition; their ambition is purely tied to leadership and not status. Meanwhile, a manager’s insecurity about their skills means they feel threatened by change.

7 Leaders are true diplomats, ignoring gossip and stepping in only when they’re needed – but they understand they can’t fix everything. A manager is always concerned whether rumours are about them and may resort to manipulation to quell the chitchat.

8 Leaders don’t feel the need to constantly remind their staff of their status. Their actions speak louder than words and their staff respects them for it. A manager feels the need to pull rank and constantly let others know who the boss is.

9 A leader delegates and gives employees credit for their work so they can shine in the company, while a manager may be selfish and only delegates to manage stress then takes the credit.

10 Leaders lead, simply put. They have a vision and their actions are focused on their goals. A manager might also have a vision, but it’s often self-centred and they have a hard time getting it across to employees.

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