Leadership Challenge: Manager Or Leader?

By Dr. Mary Kay

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Here are some ways to recognize whether you are a manager or a leader.

Are You a Manager or a Leader?

  • A manager tells, pushes, and provides solutions. A leader asks questions, pulls, and gets solutions from people.
  • A manager gets “yes” people. A leader attracts committed people.
  • A manager gets more to do. A leader creates a team.
  • A manager has to stay at the job all of the time. A leader gets to take time off and take a vacation.
  • A manager stays in the same position. A leader has choices.
  • A manager is stressed out. A leader is engaged in visionary tasks.
  • A manager burns out. A leader grows and takes on greater responsibility.
  • A manager goes in circles dealing with the same “people problems” over and over. A leader gets results.

Whether you are a new supervisor or a CEO, leaders establish productive relationships with all people: their employees, their bosses, their spouses, and their children. In all aspects of their lives, they have developed into influential leaders.

Leadership Challenge

Communicate with people by asking more questions instead of talking too much, telling people what you think or what they need to do.

This can be a hard habit to break. By asking questions, you encourage people to come up with their ideas, recommendations, and solutions which creates a commitment for them to act upon.

Are You a Manager or a Leader?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and co-founder of the About Leaders community. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained over 30,000 leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Masterclass helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders.
  • Stephen B. Carman says:

    Thanks for this good reminder Dr. Mary Kay.

    Another good resource for anyone interested in the nuances between managers and leaders is the Manager-Leader Profile by James P. Eicher.

    In this model, these distinct roles are not viewed as mutually exclusive, but rather roles that need to be in balance.

    Managers (a) direct operations, (b) develop the organization, and (c) reinforce performance and leaders (a) communicate organizational direction, (b) develop key relationships, and (c) inspire others.

  • Grace Miranda says:

    Dr. Kay,

    Thank you for sharing articles that encourage and inspire. This one is a great reminder during my transformation from manager to leader.

    I am preparing to take the comprehensive examination for my doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership while simuultaneously enhancing my leadership skills.

    As a training consultant, the articles you post are aids for my growth.They also keep me encouraged as I await the day for the opportunity to contribute to someone else growth.

    Best regards,

    Grace Miranda

  • Dr. Mary Kay Whitaker says:

    Hi Grace,

    Good luck with comps!I remember the exam vividly and I’m sure you will do well.

    Thanks for your support of About Leaders. I’m glad you find the information valuable to you.

    All the best,

    Mary Kay

  • Dr. Mary Kay Whitaker says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Your point and resource for maintaining balance between the roles of manager and leaders are so important. Thanks for your comments.

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