I’m taking a course in Kelowna with Community Futures, on Leadership. Sounds relatively straight forward until you compare management to leadership, compare manager to a leader more specifically.

A manager is someone who operationally directs or conducts the business of an organization. I see this as a technical role, a part of a system, measurable and as my Leadership instructor, Anita Bakker, today pointed out, a doer. A manager establishes a plan, allocates resources and measures the results to monitor the success or failure of the plan. A manager relies on other people to fulfill and execute his plan.

Enter the LEADER!

A leader is a different cat, he is the visionary, energy focused and providing a style that makes people want to follow him by choice, implements the plan and allows the vision to succeed. Getting the job done is hardly the definition of a leader. A leader inspires and is not just the person in charge.

Some of the traits you’ll find in a leader are; integrity, empowering, inspiring, enlightening, approachable, receptive, respected, balanced, wise, have the ability to listen and funny enough (no pun intended) possess a sense of humour.

Funny enough a leader can be a manager but a manager may not be a leader. A leader can grow into one, develop talents of a leader but mainly, I feel, is born into it- a natural.

I am a manager by definition but feel in my heart I am a leader but that would be better decided by those who follow me. I think about the people in my life who are leaders some by choice others by necessity. A manager can run a business, an organization of any kind but a leader can be a parent of teens, a sports coach, and a sports figure like Steve Nash or a folk hero like Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa by the way, and in a lot of cases was a reluctant leader. That innate trait must feel very challenging to the reluctant leader.

The business leader can be defined by his followers (employees) who will do anything to help with the inspired vision. It’s a combination of traits or characteristics and certain skills and knowledge. The good part is that you don’t have to be a born leader like Trudeau, Mandela or Kennedy. You don’t want to be a reluctant hero like Rosa Parks, Gandhi  or Mother Teresa but those people have no choice, the yare followed by who they are. Being a leader may mean being in relationship, engaged and having a transparent, honest interaction with people, employees or colleagues. It’s about influencing , by being a role model, by effecting change by sincere motivations and having followers who feel it is in their best interests to follow.

Would you rather be a Manager or a Leader?


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  1. Thank you Gary. It gives me hope that I can continue developing my leadership skills. I have been told I am a visionary but not a manager. I am constantly reading and taking workshops to develop my skills in management. Great post and would like to hear more about manager versus leader.

    I have found the volunteers who manage certain aspects of Beauty Night can shine as leaders in the areas that highlight their gifts (strengths). I like the concept of having people be the very best person they can be. Very Marianne Williamson – who are we to be gorgeous, fabulous, and wonderful… by letting our light shine we inspire others to do the same.

  2. Caroline raises an important point. One of the impediments to good leadership in our organizations is a structure that makes it very hard for natural leaders to achieve any sort of formal leadership role without being actual managers. I’ve met a few excellent leaders who were poor managers, often they founded their own businesses or nonprofit organizations, so that they could hire other managers from the get-go.

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