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Managers vs. Leaders: Sustainability & Professional Growth

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Updated By: Dan Soldner on Tue, Dec 05, 2017

The push and pull between management and leadership is a struggle I regularly face. Because the two are not naturally separated, I consistently work toward defining the line between the two and maintaining their boundaries. When I’m in a meeting or when I’m approached with an issue or when someone is in my office I ask myself, Am I leading right now, or am I managing?  

Managers vs. Leaders: Sustainability and Professional Growth

Managers Vs. Leaders

Understanding the difference between management and leadership is not a finite process. It’s not a class you can take or a certification I can hang on my wall. It has to be earned. It’s an art, and it’s a daily process. In the most basic sense, you lead people and you manage processes. Sounds simple, right? Well, real life and the real world are filled with gray areas and ambiguities.

Thankfully, I don’t have to do it all on my own. I’ve had many great mentors and leaders who’ve guided and influenced me – many who still do to this day. I’m able to take what I learn from them, apply my own style to it, and use it in my professional life. I rely on texts, ideas, and concepts outlined by others, and I use those resources to better both: my management and my leadership.

 

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Leading Professional Growth

You can’t make people do anything, they have to want to do it. One of the tools we use to maintain a separation between management and leadership is the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). Under this system, leading my team means providing them with clear direction and the necessary tools to be successful.

It’s vital to delegate tasks, even in those moments when you might prefer to do things yourself. It’s about making decisions in the best interest of the company, not supporting selfish agendas. Maintaining a sense of clarity throughout allows leadership to happen. Because people can be led, inspired, and motivated to make their own decisions. You really can’t force people nowadays, there are too many other options and opportunities.  

 

Managing Your Business

When I’m managing, my focus is on keeping expectations clear for myself and for my direct reports. The value of communication is so important here. If roles, goals, and measurables are all clearly defined, everyone stays informed and is capable of choosing to meet expectations. Management means setting the right tone. I know my behavior, reactions, and mannerisms are subject to being mirrored.

Management is about setting a standard for appropriate action and conduct. It's also about more fully understanding your impact on professional growth. When it comes to management vs. leadership, you just never stop learning and growing. In the words of Entrepreneur Richard Branson, “Train people well enough so they can leave, and treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” 

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Dan Soldner

About The Author

Dan Soldner

Dan believes that marketing has one purpose: to generate sales leads. He is certain the best marketing tactics and sales people are decision-making facilitators, not yes getters and being customer-centric is the only way to be successful in the long run. Dan started Leighton Interactive in 2009 with a vision to help high-growth companies attract and close more ideal customers. A perpetual student of sales and marketing, Dan focuses on two things: finding clients with problems Leighton Interactive solves and talent with the expertise to solve them.

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