There are significant differences between being a true leader and being a manager. While management comes with its own challenges, leadership is something different entirely. If you are in a position of authority in any capacity with your job, knowing how to be both a good leader and a good manager will be important. Management is often an appointed position, where leadership is often something you must earn. Honing your leadership skills will help you be a better manager—and vice versa.
In most cases, leaders are good motivators, inspiring others to do their best or accomplish a specific goal. Managers give directions and instruct people where to go. Managers are often most concerned with measurable goals, such as sales, performance levels and more, while leaders are often more focused on the emotional and mental side, giving their team a boost through encouragement.
A unique aspect about leadership is that one does not necessarily have to be appointed as the one in charge in order to be a great leader. Strong leaders adapt well to change, while managers are more concerned with habits and the status quo. Often, leaders equip others to lead as well, while managers may only perform tasks and instruct those in positions below them.
You may be a manager, but you can also be a leader. It is possible to both manage and inspire, lifting people up while still providing instruction. In the same way, you don’t have to be in an official position of management in order to be a good leader. One is not necessarily better than the other, but knowing the difference between these roles can help you be intentional about your goals and how you perform in your specific job.