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We tend to conflate the words ‘manager’ and ‘leader’ when speaking about the workplace, but the truth is they’re often more different than we realise. To better understand the difference between leaders and managers, it’s useful to think of management as process-oriented, something that focuses on structural development and building competence using chains of control.

Leadership, on the other hand, is a little looser in its approach to executing projects effectively. Unlike management, it is far more intuitive, allowing for an easier incorporation of creativity as well as passion, making for slightly more unconventional approaches to problem-solving.

Most modern workplaces require their managers to strike a balance between being a ‘manager’ in the traditional sense and occupying the role of a ‘leader’. To help you understand how exactly you can implement these changes, it’s worth understanding some key differences between the two: 

1. Managers and leaders tend to have different personality types

Managers tend to take a more grounded and process-oriented approach to problem-solving. Leaders are far more likely to seek solutions outside of conventional norms. Of course, different situations demand different kinds of approaches. Understanding what the problem requires can help you understand how to go about finding a solution.

2. Managers and leaders have different approaches to goal setting

When making goals, a managerial approach tends to take into consideration their organisation’s history and culture, prioritising needs over desires. Leaders, on the other hand, create goals rather than base them on any previous model of progress. They anticipate the needs of consumers, and gear themselves up accordingly.

3. Managers have a more direct approach towards work

Managers perceive work as something that can be planned, negotiated, and optimised. Unsurprisingly, a lot of managers want to make the most out of their teams. Their perception of work usually drives this this. For leaders, however, this is not the case. While effective output from managers comes from a place within. They word under a set rules or boundaries, leaders tend to look at ways to re-invent in existing model altogether.

4. Managers know how to work well with other people 

In a slight continuation from where we left off, managers are well versed in the art of negotiation. They avoid risks and seek to minimize confrontation, opting instead for operations with collaboration. Leaders usually are less concerned with this aspect of choices within a business setting. They are more focused on the most creative ways to end up with productive output.Instead of getting caught up in trying to align yourself with one type of thinking over the other, finding a good middle ground between managerial and leadership-driven types of organisation can be the trick to intelligent problem-solving.

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