Managers vs. Leaders: What’s the Difference?
Managers and leaders share many similar qualities, but the performance of a manager carries far fewer risks than the performance of a leader. In addition, there seems to be a difference in the underlying motivational characteristics of these two groups.
- Creating the right vision
- Getting people to embrace that vision
- Maintaining momentum (motivating, influencing, and persuading others)
- Managing change (strategic planning, problem solving)
- Surrounding oneself with the right people
- Developing staff (coaching, managing performance, transforming teams)
- Delegating authority
Surrounding oneself with the right people was selected 41% of the time, second only to creating the right vision, as one of the most critical parts of leadership. Surrounding oneself with the right people was also selected as one of the three most difficult aspects of being an effective leader, just behind maintaining momentum and developing staff.
These chief executives said there are three main factors that keep most managers from becoming leaders: not understanding others well enough, not solving problems quickly enough, and not taking necessary risks.
We also asked the perennial question, is leadership predominantly something you are born with or that you develop through experience?
These same chief executives told us they felt they were born with 40 percent of their leadership ability and developed the remaining 60 percent through experience.
What are the personality qualities that account for this 40 percent of innate leadership ability?
When we assessed the personality strengths of these chief executives, we found they were adept at influencing and directing others, skillful at building relationships, and masterful at solving problems and making decisions. In essence, these leaders are extremely bright, assertive, driven to persuade, empathic, and resilient. Having a need to get things accomplished, they are willing to take risks. They are also moderately sociable, demonstrating a healthy level of skepticism, and are motivated to come up with new ideas.
Identifying and developing future leaders is one of the most important challenges facing chief executives today. Yet most organizations have a tendency to suffocate potential leaders.
Certainly a hallmark of an effective leader is to create a vision for the company's future. Essential to that vision is: recognizing the potential in future leaders, mentoring, coaching and developing them, giving them responsibility early, and realizing that a very different type of leader may be needed for tomorrow than exists today.