By Eric Woodruff, CPA, CCIFP
Partner, Director of Audit & Assurance Services
Managers are usually considered leaders within a business, but the difference between managers and leaders is more significant than you think.
Managers work IN the business while leaders work ON the business!
To put it another way, managers are in the trenches while leaders are operating from a bird’s-eye view. Managers spend more time grinding through the day-to-day standard operating procedures. Meanwhile, a leader always has an eye on what’s further down the road for the business, and she carries an inspirational vision of what is possible.
A good leader has a crystal-clear vision for the company and its future. While a manager may get caught up in keeping the status quo and doing things the way they’ve always been done on a daily basis, a leader steers the team toward innovation. She takes measured risks and maintains control of the wheel when those risks threaten to push the company off the rails.
A manager can grow into a great leader by rising above the micro level environment and looking at the business more from a macro view. What can they do to make the business run more smoothly? Leaders will seek to improve the current daily processes. She will also look out further into the future and ascertain how technology will impact her business. A leader never stops reaching for that higher level of aspiration and inspires the team to achieve what they may not think is possible.
Leaders also actively encourage those around them to aim higher. THEY make the team better! They initiate training and team-building sessions throughout the year to keep employees sharp, on their toes and building new skills. Propelling people to improve creates a culture that encourages continuous learning and experimentation. It keeps the company alive and thriving!
You determine which role you aspire to fill: manager or leader. Most successful companies need talented team members in both roles. Are you as successful as you want to be?