Management and leadership are often confused. To many employees, the two terms are synonymous. The reality, however, is a little more complex. Although the titles may be similar in some ways, they are two fundamentally different approaches. Traditionally, managers were responsible for assigning and evaluating the work of others. They helped budget, plan, and control. In short, managers were expected to manage, not lead. In today’s workplace, management instead of leadership won’t cut it. If you’re trying to decide whether you’re a manager or a leader, try asking yourself the following questions. 

Do you count value or do you create it? 

Managers are more concerned with counting the value added by others than creating it themselves. In some instances, they even accidentally detract value. If they don’t understand the work someone is doing, don’t trust employees, or interrupt constantly, they are endangering productivity. Don’t be a manager who subtracts value. 

Leaders, on the other hand, create value. They care more about inspiring their employees to create value, and they set a strong example. Strong leaders are more interested in enabling their employees to create value than simply counting the work that their employees produce. 

Do you care more about who you control or who you influence? 

Managers tend to be concerned with the amount of people they control and are always seeking to expand their circle of power.  They have subordinates, while leaders have followers. Leaders care more about who they influence and less about the number of individuals they control. They prefer that people look to them because they are knowledgeable, and not because they have to. 

Are you trying to determine whether your employees see you as a manager or a leader? Consider how many people come to you for advice who are outside of your direct management. These are the people who view you as a leader. 

Do you motivate others or manage their work? 

Simply put, management is the act of controlling a group of people or a set of tasks. Leadership is an action beyond completing a goal. Instead, leadership consists of influencing, motivating, and inspiring others. Leaders don’t just talk about completing tasks, but also encourage their employees to think about their vision and aspirations. 

Are you a manager or a leader? Do you need to change your strategy or implement these ideas? Focus on developing your leadership skills, changing your mindset, and empowering others. 

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