How to Be a Great Leader (and Not Just a Manager)

Manager and leader are both terms referring to being in a position of authority. However, there are crucial differences – being a manager is typically more about handling processes and overall dealing with the present moment while being a leader focuses on influencing those around them to change their behavior and developing toward a better future. Learn more about how to be a great leader (and not just a manager) with these tips: 

Focus on Listening 

Leaders may be known for giving speeches and presentations, but what truly separates them from being managers is their listening skills. A great deal of the information needed to make positive change in the workplace can be gathered by being observant. Whether it’s listening to employee feedback or customer complaints, focus on listening to gain the necessary perspectives and insights needed to shape effective decision-making.

Be a Coach, Not a Disciplinarian 

A key difference between a manager and a leader is that managers follow rules and reprimand those who don’t align with expected results. Being a leader, on the other hand, is more about being a coach and helping guide employees to long-term success and overall professional growth and not just immediate satisfactory performance of tasks. It focuses on motivating employees based on their individual triggers and preferences, so they aim to work hard because they want to, not out of fear of discipline. 

Acknowledge and Take Accountability for Shortcomings

Authentic leaders are transparent and willing to admit when they have made mistakes. Not only do they hold themselves accountable when things don’t have the desired results, but they are also willing to be vulnerable and admit when they don’t have all the answers or otherwise struggle in an area. It may sound counterproductive, but owning up to not having all the answers or having challenges inspires trust from employees and makes the sense of teamwork stronger. 

Cultivate a Mindset of Innovation

Managers tend to strive to maintain the status quo and do things as they have always been done without questioning the purpose or strategy of why the processes are in place, as long as they are performed well. To transition into a leader requires a mindset of innovation and taking risks to try new things rather than perfecting the current processes.

Build a Team of Top Talent

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