3 Differences That Set Leaders Apart from Managers


We have all dealt with a difficult manager. It typically happens with your first job in high school, but it can be a chronic problem for graduates as they enter the professional world or climb the corporate ranks. Every team will have their grievances with management, but if you have been on the other side, you are aware how difficult it can be to manage a team of diverse personalities.

Management isn’t easy. There’s a fine line between trusting your employees with freedom without being too permissive and providing direction without micromanaging. Misdirection can lead to employee frustrations and complications between team members. However, when a manager directs their vision towards leading their team, the management aspect comes naturally. Below, we detail the three differences that set a leader apart from typical management:

Difference #1: Leaders Respect Differences

When you work with a team, you are bound to interact with different personalities every day. This is the nature of teamwork: differences will always exist between people, but the teams that can overcome these differences are the ones that accomplish greatness. The best leaders see these differences as opportunities, particularly in businesses with different departments or a broad range of roles. This is because differences tend to indicate different talents between team members.

For example, an office manager may be organized and detail-oriented while a sales representative is more outgoing and spontaneous. These individuals will inevitably work together in these roles, and their different work styles can give refreshing perspectives. If your business has a diverse clientele, this can also improve your relationship with your audience. A strong leader is able to look at these different personalities and guide team members towards their strengths. When everyone is able to practice their talents, previous hurdles or complications disappear.

Difference #2: Leaders Are Solution Driven

Problems are a natural part of any business. Sometimes they are spontaneous, but when it comes to daily operations, these issues can be easily avoided. While managers are responsible for solving problems, often times they wait for a problem before looking for a way to solve it. While this is a necessity to the role, a reactive approach to obstacles means that there is someone or something on the receiving end of the problem.

Whether it’s an angry customer or a disorganized office, fixing a problem requires time and resources. Leaders avoid this by being proactive instead of reactive. The best leaders are always looking for ways to improve their team or company. It may be a matter of regularly taking inventory for the office supply room or it may be setting aside time for one on one meetings with their staff. Regardless of how leaders decide to enhance their team or operations, the commonality is in the desire for continual improvement.

Difference #3: Leaders Uphold Company Culture

Ever wonder about who determines your company culture? Look no further than the leadership within your company. While managers work within their job responsibilities and rarely step outside those parameters, leaders are culture ambassadors. Great leadership understands the value of a thriving company culture. They bring team members together under one shared vision. Leading by example is the best way to encourage your team to invest in their company culture, as it removes any uncertainty about your company values.

Conversely, managers will likely know their company values but rarely model them or return to them in their day to day obligations. By embodying their company values, leaders demonstrate what they expect from their team members. In turn, the best employees will strive to represent these values as well when they believe in their company.

If you have been following our blog, it’s no secret that Zimmer values leadership and company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about a thriving company culture where respect, passion, ownership and fun are valued, check out employment opportunities on our website!

Check Out Our Current Job Openings at Zimmer! 

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