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The difference between managers and leaders

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It’s time to face the music as a manager: You don’t always have all of the right answers. Your “it’s my way or the highway” approach to management isn’t going to encourage anyone to help you in your problem-solving endeavors.

Managers and leaders are often referred to synonymously, but only leaders allow their employees to solve problems with their own insights. The truth of the matter is this: Every leader may not be a manager, but every manager should be a leader. It’s easy to see that leadership and management aren’t the same thing, but a manager who lacks effective leadership traits will drive a business into the ground faster than you can count to 10.

Change doesn’t happen overnight when it comes to transforming managers into leaders. It takes time and energy to improve the way you manage and utilize more leadership characteristics on a daily basis.

Here are some tips to help you understand the difference between managers and leaders, and make the necessary improvements.

1. Managers give answers, leaders ask questions. There’s nothing certain to turn your employees against you faster than shouting orders at them. Why not spare yourself the impending resentment and simply ask your employees this: “What would you do?” or “What do you think of this idea?” Allowing people to participate in the decision-making process will not only transform what could have been an order into something more easily swallowed, it also inspires creativity, motivation and autonomy.

2. Managers criticize mistakes, leaders call attention to mistakes indirectly. It may seem more efficient to point out your employees’ mistakes directly, but this will only leave them feeling embarrassed and frustrated. You should really be giving them the chance to learn and grow from mistakes through your critiques. Instead, give your employees the chance to address their mistakes. For example, say a project was sent to a client and you receive back a disgruntled message. Calmly ask your employee about the client’s concern and whether that person feels what was provided was on par. This will give the employee a chance to provide input, while also improving for the future.

3. Managers forget to praise, leaders reward even the smallest improvement. Praise pays off when it comes to increasing the overall success of your company. Finding time to recognize your employees for even the smallest accomplishment will only increase their interest in what they do. If you’re interested in ensuring your employees take pride in all that they do, regular feedback and recognition is certain to do the trick. Everyone wants to be genuinely appreciated for their efforts.

4. Managers focus on the bad, leaders emphasize the good. This really comes down to seeing the cup half empty or half full. If you’re only willing to point out the flaws of a project or an employee, you’re not sparking much interest in learning or improving. Instead, create a sandwich effect. Start with some form of praise, follow with the criticism and end with praise.

5. Managers want credit, leaders credit their teams. Managers who lack leadership abilities are always first to take credit. But effective leaders understand the importance of crediting their teams for the big wins. This pays off in the long run for creative a workplace with a more positive company culture and employees who are driven toward more successes as a team.

Management shouldn’t approach through force but rather through influence. Put these techniques in place to improve the way your employees perform.

 

Ilya Pozin is the founder of Ciplex, a columnist for Inc., Forbes and LinkedIn, a gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father and “30 Under 30” entrepreneur.