4 Characteristics of a Leader, not a Manager

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  – John Adams

Managers manage people and processes. Leaders use effective communication to inspire others and seize opportunities. Do you want to be a leader or a manager?

Leaders show accountability

Besides having the expectations of knowing the companies processes and offerings, a leader shows accountability as a member of the team towards the overall objectives and goals of that team.

“If I am asking others to do something, I better be willing and able to do it myself.  If I say I am going to do something, I do it and expect the same of others.”  – Laurie Peterson, Rural Mutual District Manager

He or she creates a feeling of a team environment where everyone succeeds and fails together.

How does a leader fail to show accountability?

By losing the trust and confidence of their team, a leader is seen as more of a manager. Team members can’t rely on their “boss” to help get the job done but will just expect him or her to delegate tasks and communicate unrealistic expectations.

Leaders are expert communicators

Building relationships and being an avid listener makes a leader an expert communicator. To build relationships, leaders need to have excellent interpersonal skills.

“I believe the most important values we [managers] demonstrate as leaders is understanding everyone’s personality and motivations. We need to be able to effectively communicate with all involved to reach our common goals.” – Chuck McDaniel, Rural Mutual District Manager

Whether it’s clearly communicating expectations or solving a work place conflict, leaders need to be approachable and understanding in any situation. Not all people learn the same way, and not all people respond the same way. A leader knows that and adapts to the situation to make each member understand.

How does a leader fail to communicate effectively?

It’s obvious; By failing to build relationships and not listening to team members, there will be little to no teamwork and growth.

Leaders inspire and see opportunities

For a leader to be effective, he or she needs to nurture growth by being a forward thinker.

Leaders paint a picture of an end-result and motivate their team to buy-in and support a common goal. They must inspire their employees to follow their lead. “ – Ken Bosman, Rural Mutual  District Manager

A manager sticks to the status quo, but a leader will foster an environment for new ideas and risk taking. He or she is willing to give up the control to inspire their team members to think outside the box.

“Biggest fail for any leader is to think they know everything, and they are always right. And because they think that, they do not allow their team to evolve and grow.” – Mike Lubahn, Rural Mutual Director of Marketing

Not only are effective leaders flexible and open to new ideas, but they encourage it.  The old saying goes that if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.  How about saying—I know it isn’t broken, but is there a way to do it that’s even better?

How does a leader fail to see opportunities and inspire others?

By always focusing on the day by day activities, leaders will fail to see the whole picture and find opportunities for their team to grow. A leader no longer allows their team to be innovative by delegating or just telling people what to do and how to do it.

It’s likely this person is seen more as a manager and someone who does things how they have always been done. Leaders encourage better ways to do things, while managers stick to the job description.

Leaders show character

Effective leaders have strong ethics by showing integrity and respect. He or she can be trusted and lead by example.

 “Nothing can cause a leader to fail faster than being inconsistent with values.” –  Randy Palmer, Rural Mutual District Manager

How does a leader fail to show character?

By compromising his or her integrity, there is not trust. If there is no trust, everything else above is irrelevant to team members. Managers will see less motivation and less buy-in.

Interested in being a leader and starting your own business? Reach out online for more information.