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The Difference Between Leading and Managing

I was listening to a podcast the other day and heard someone mention how it’s so hard to manage people. The word “manage” really struck me in such a profound and negative way. What does “manage” really mean? It means to control, and no one wants to be controlled. Actually, no one deserves to be controlled.


The impact of being controlled builds resentment, fear, disappointment and a loss of respect. More importantly, the light that you want and need in your employees starts to dim more and more because they are unable to contribute their ideas, use their talents, or grow in any meaningful way.


When you control people you cause a deep desire in them to want to get out, and if they can’t leave, they often just shut down and come to work, put in their time, and count the minutes until they can go home.


The result of controlling a person is after time, you end up with a shell of a human being showing up to work. This shell is then often written up for missing deadlines and not meeting expectations.


Why do those in charge try to control others in the first place?


We often try to control what we fear. Ask yourself these questions:


1. What are you trying to control? 2. What do you fear? 3. How would your employees describe you? 4. How do you want to be seen?


The Difference Between Leaders and Managers


Here’s the main difference between leaders and managers: Leaders influence, motivate and inspire. Managers direct and control actions.


Managers are task-oriented. They focus on the “how” of a project, how that project will get done. They believe they have all the answers and that those “below” them should do as they say.


Leaders aren’t task-oriented, they are people-oriented. True leadership isn’t about telling people what to do; it’s about inspiring individuals on the team to connect to the vision and give their all. Leaders generally don’t tell people what to do so much as ask questions and empower people to find the answers themselves.


There are other people you have chosen to be on your team that can manage tasks to ensure things get done. Your role is to lead your team. You can do this best by:


• Sharing your vision and core values • Being human • Listening more • Delegating not micromanaging • Fixing problems without assigning blame • Inviting discussion • CARE


Inspire your team. Don’t control them and turn them into a shell of what they are; what they could be.



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