Are you a Leader or a Manager?

Now more than ever, rising business complexity related to creating a safe environment for employees and leading through a myriad of changes bring challenges to all leaders. 

As a retail leader, do you have the skills and expertise needed to be able to navigate through the complexities? Are you equipped to face the challenges? Who is equipped to face the challenges? Leaders can inspire and motivate people to perform to the best of their ability.  The manager can plan, organize and administer day-to-day activities.

There is the classic, age-old question of what’s the difference between a Manager and a Leader. If we start with our classic definition that Leadership is Influence. Then in the simplest terms: The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them. 

 Which is better, a leader or a manager?

  1. Leaders Create a Vision, Managers Create Goals.

Leaders are visionaries and look at the larger picture. Leaders have a clear vision of where their organizations want to be in the future. Leaders assist the team to understand the greater role they can play to assist the organization. They consider things that go beyond what individuals do. They inspire people to become a part of something bigger. Leaders motivate the people they work with to help them realize their vision. 

Managers are concerned with setting, measuring, and achieving objectives. They focus on implementing processes. They control situations in order to achieve their goals.

2.            Leaders Think Ideas, Managers Think Execution.

Leaders embrace change and always look for opportunities to improve, develop new techniques and strategies for the organization. Leaders are always on the look for new ideas that can play an important role in driving change within organizations. 

Managers stick with what works, structures, and processes. They ensure that people operate efficiently and productively. Managers focus on specific ways to be organized in daily tasks as well as larger projects. Whatever the idea – managers find a way to divide it into smaller tasks and projects that the team can manage.

3.            Leaders Coach, Managers Direct.

Leaders believe in their employees and are optimistic about their potential. They resist the urge to tell their subordinates what to do and how to do it. Leaders encourage employees to think outside the box and look at the big picture.

Managers assign tasks and provide direction on how to complete them. Managers typically have clear guidelines in place regarding various aspects of their workplace. Their primary function is to instruct you on how things should be done.

4.            Leaders Develop, Manager Maintain

Leaders focus on people. They reach employees on a personal level to encourage them to work harder and inspire them to develop their skills as they work toward the company’s vision.

Managers focus on the systems and structures required to set and achieve objectives. They ensure that people’s daily operations run smoothly and help to avoid chaos. They concentrate on the analytical and ensure that systems are in place to achieve the desired results.

Being a leader is not always preferable to being a manager, and vice versa. You can be both, or you can prioritize developing your skills in one area. Choosing which qualities of a leader to emphasize is dependent on what your team requires of you and how you can best support them.

However, retail companies are beginning to understand the importance of Leadership over Management in more vital situations. Operationally, a manager can take a business unit, a district, or a division so far. Leaders can provide the vision to enhance the company’s culture, develop talent to a higher level of performance while generating the requisite results for sustainable growth. 

Now, which one are you?

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