The terms manager and leader are often interchangeable yet are they truly synonymous? In my opinion, they are not and the distinctions between these two disciplines are crucial to understanding how to advance your career towards leadership positions.
You become a manager when you are entrusted with a project, a team or a result to deliver. How does one become a leader? Leadership is not a position or a title, it is a discipline that is exercised at every stage of your career, at all times. The perception of your leadership potential is what will determine your promotion to a senior or strategic executive position.
In other words, you will be given a management position because you have proven your expertise or technical knowledge on a subject. But you will be promoted to a strategic leadership position because your personality, your charisma, your strategic abilities, your relationship with members of the executive committee already place you as a de facto leader.
So how does one develop this leadership potential throughout a career? Let’s look at the differences between management and leadership through different lenses:
|Perspective||Short to medium term – Tactical implementation to achieve desired outcomes.
Taking account of current opportunities and challenges in determining the implementation plan.
|Long term and strategic – Contribution to the creation of a product, a business model or a vision for the company.
Awareness of the trends and macroeconomic factors that are likely to impact the organisation, its positioning or its processes.
|Action||Evaluation of results, decision-making.
Training of teams to develop their technical capabilities.
|Constant consultation with personal network within and outside the organisation at all hierarchical levels.
Generator of ideas, contribution to and influence over the strategy.
|Approach||Stability, respect of rules by minimizing risks.
Management of teams and responsibilities.
|Strategic watch, market awareness
Risk taking to challenge the status quo, innovate and inspire teams.
What will you do at your level this month to start practicing certain leadership attitudes?