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Dec 02

Leadership Distinction

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 2:06 PM by Emily Olsen

A topic that gets the mind thinking is the one about management versus leadership. There are
distinctions to be made between the two areas of guiding people. It has been said that management is more about coordinating the people who work for you. Leadership seems to be more about inspiring and modeling behaviour to the people who surround you.

There are certain attributes that have been identified that seem to differentiate between a manager and a leader. Characteristics and behaviours that typically set a manager apart from a leader are mentioned repetitively in several different sources.

A trait that frequently arises to describe a leader is being a role model. Leaders tend to guide, support, and energize others. Leaders are positive thinkers, adaptable, and confident in their decision making; yet, they understand that they don’t know all of the answers. They are life learners who look to other disciplines for inspiration and knowledge. They prefer horizontal leadership and remove hierarchy. They remove obstacles for their followers. They decisively deal with issues often in the best interest of others. Leaders are more reflective and less reactionary. Leaders believe in team work and ensure that proper credit or accolades are given when they are due.

Managing and leading are evidently two different things, but they certainly overlap. Managers can be leaders. The beauty of experiencing a manager with leadership tendencies is that they make you ponder. A leader helps you to look ahead but also sideways. A leader makes you feel empowered to do your work and even venture outside the lines of standard service provision. They give you permission to try newer ideas and take calculated risks.

The myriad of qualities ascribed to a true leader are plentiful. The non-profit sector abounds with such people leading our communities toward strength and unity. They inspire us to help others where we can and when we can. They motivate us to do our best and strive for continual improvement.

Management versus leadership tends to be a sensitive topic. It raises insecurities in people. It needn’t be this way. Rather, discerning the differences between managing and leading could be a thought provoking exercise that gets us to appreciate the leaders who are in our communities. Also, it could help us to be more mindful of our own characteristics and behaviours honing us to be more leadership inclined.

Managers do good work every day. If you are lucky, a manager will show you the way to being the best worker that you can possibly be. They might sprinkle leadership dust in a discreet way to remind you that you are achieving goals and reaching your potential. The everyday coordination of tasks and duties still must get done, but when it is done with inspiration it is so much more distinct.