Leaders Vs Managers
We may all be project managers… but are we all project leaders? Managing a group of people or a project plan typically means that we help direct activities or have something to do with guiding the behaviors and actions of our team. But, there is a difference between telling members of our team what to do, and inspiring them to take action. Have you considered whether or not your team members would consider a manager or leader? Or, what distinguishes a leader from a manager?
‘Leaders’ are often distinguished from ‘managers’ by the level of commitment and involvement they have with their team members. For instance, a manager may see their team members as employees who help them achieve a task; whereas a leader sees their teammates as individuals whose skills they can help develop. Managers may be singularly focused on the task at hand, while leaders look toward the bigger picture. Leaders are thought to be more forward-thinking individuals, whose focus is the betterment of both the organization and the individuals that serve that organization. Managers, however, are considered to be more singularly focused, and use tools and people in the standard way to achieve a short-term goal.
Consider this list of leadership traits, and ask yourself if you are exhibiting leadership qualities in your daily work life, or if you may want to focus on honing some of these skills:
These examples of a leaders actions versus a managers actions help demonstrate how leaders truly stand apart in a work environment. Perhaps most important, leaders focus on the well being of the people they work with. As project managers, it is our job to make sure we are doing everything we can to lead our team members to success. As such, we have to ensure that each of those individuals are in the proper role with the right responsibilities.
Focusing on these leadership qualities can help you increasing employee buy-in and satisfaction while improving the project process. Try implementing some of these strategies this week, and see how focusing on leading your people can make a meaningful difference.