Nov 17, 2016 08:18 AM EST

Workplace Tips: How To Be An Inspiring Leader Rather Than A Manager Who Plays Safe


Not all managers are leaders and that is a fact. Some just have the fancy plaque on their office door and a nice title to include on their resume, but a leader? Not just yet. There is a fine line that differentiates the two, and if you're smart, your goal should be to become both. 

There are a few distinctions that significantly differentiate a regular manager from an effective leader. Here are the top 5 differences between an inspiring leader and regular old manager with a fancy office desk plaque. 

1. When it comes to taking risks.

Leaders are open to taking risks, fully understanding what the consequences may be, but also aware of how much there is to gain by making the right calculated decision. They are willing to try new things, and failure is just a nifty reason to get back up again, stronger and wiser. Being a leader who doesn't fear failure makes you a great role model for your people, removing the fear of failure from their hearts will enable them to let their imagination and confidence shine.

A manager, on the other hand, minimizes risks, they prioritize steering clear from problems. When the person above you obviously fears taking risks and encourages you to be that way too, that makes the room for change significantly smaller. Remember, some changes are good. Totally obliterating risk taking in the workplace will definitely maintain the present status, but that also means less chance of improvement.  

2. When it comes to assigning tasks.

Leaders make leaders. With that being said, they would rather see you grow under their wing and reach your full potential, no matter how many times you fall. They will give out chances for their people to improve themselves and to grow. 

On the other hand, a manager relies on proven skills. This means that they are more likely to repetitively give a task to someone who already knows how to do it, rather that giving another employee the chance to learn. All for the sake of keeping things the same. Since the present status has proven to be effective. That's all good for your day to day statistics, but what about your people's growth?

3. When it comes to the right direction.

Trust is a key factor here. Leaders would be comfortable putting their trust in their people, although it may be a risk. But then again, leaders have no problems with taking properly calculated risks. With that being said, leaders will not tell their people what to do and how to do it exactly, they let them figure it out on their own. To find a way to do the task in a way that they find efficient. 

Managers, however, will assign tasks to a person who they know will follow instructions to the letter. They will provide step by step guidance and will be firm on how it has to be done, when it has to be done and what the end result MUST be.

4. When it comes to change.

Change is good, sometimes bad. One thing is certain, change is permanent. Everything in this world changes, and if you, as a person on top, are not capable of dealing with change, then that may rub off on those under you as well.

Leaders actually invite change, they welcome it, embrace it and nurture it. They have a mindset that is comfortable with changing a certain process even if it has already proven to be working. Why? because they are open to the possibility that there may be a better, more efficient way to get it done. And that better way might be in the young minds of those under your their wing.

Managers work to keep everything in order, as it is, thus playing safe. They are loyal to what has proven to be working, as long as it does the task, stick to it. Innovation is unnecessary.

5. When it comes to office relationships.

First off, what you have in mind is not what we mean. As inspired by Forbes, an effective leader has fans and not worker bees who work to appease the queen. Leaders would make fans out of their followers, people who believe in them, all thanks to the great example they have set. All the positivity, trust and opportunities they graced their people with will now return ten fold. These fans will be your way to promote your brand and your leadership style. A manager simply has staff members whose  goal is to please the boss.

The differences don't only apply to Leaders and managers. In the long run, the people under them will develop differences as well. Those people who have a good leader would have grown to be critical thinkers, open-minded individuals who do not fear change, and eventually, they will bloom into great leaders as well. And the cycle goes on.

For those unfortunate enough to have been under a manager as described by Jobs & Hire would be great at following orders and have goals as short lived as simply pleasing the one above you. They would grow to be comfortable with that kind of system, and if they get lucky and land a promotion, they are likely to take the form of the manager who nurtured them in the beginning. 

What would you rather be? An inspiring leader? or a manager (With a fancy office desk plaque)?

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