Managers and leaders share many of the same responsibilities, and their official titles include many of the same duties. However, truly successful leaders often have qualities that managers lack.
Making the leap from management to leadership requires characteristics that not every would-be leader has, but what exactly sets great leaders apart?
Leaders treat employees as equals, not subordinates
Managers think of employees as subordinates. Leaders prefer to develop peers. A leader places more importance on passion than on control, and employees are often drawn to that.
Leaders break rules
A dutiful manager usually follows established procedures and mimics tested practices. A leader may choose a path that is not often taken, or has never been tested. Venturing off the beaten path breeds interest, curiosity and positive attitudes. It requires courage and patience, but leaders know how to use it effectively.
Leaders focus on the big picture
Managers often focus on the immediate requirements of a job, like deadline and bottom lines. Leaders take a perspective that is good for today and for the future. Seeing beyond immediate goals requires inspiration, a quality that leaders both possess and develop in others.
Leaders focus on vision, not execution
A reliable manager often gets things done, regardless of what it takes. A leader can provide a vision of the possibilities that lie ahead, and rally others to follow. Articulating a vision lets leaders share insights for practices that are later delegated for execution.
Leaders accept and embrace risk
Leaders see risk as a potential route to success that managers may prefer to avoid. Leaders find ways to take risks and break the rules that create obstacles to success. Leaders accept and even embrace risk, because they know that the riskiest decisions are often the best ones.
What do you think separates great leaders from managers?
Abby Perkins is Editor in Chief at Talent Tribune, where she writes about people, technology and HR Software.