9 Tips to Show Up as a Leader (Not Just a Manager)

Sometimes, I hear the conversions about how to be a leader and not a manager…

But the thing is if you have direct reports leadership and management must go hand in hand.

They are not the same thing but any effort to separate the two is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

Let’s quickly define it. One of the simplest distinctions is this:

  • The manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate.
  • The leader’s job is to inspire, engage and motivate.

To be successful with your goals in the short and long term, you need to be both a strong leader and manager to get your team on board and to follow you towards your vision of success.

Now, what I’ve noticed is that when times are stressful many new managers and leaders have a tendency to focus less on the leadership aspect and more on the management aspect.

To help you avoid that trap, here are 9 tips to make sure you’re showing up as a leader for your team: 

  1. Ask for your team members’ opinions before making decisions.
  2. Acknowledge your employees for their effort or accomplishments.
  3. Be ok with being wrong.
  4. Learn to handle dissent and polite debate.
  5. Take advice from your team members even in group settings.
  6. Stand up for your team members whenever you need to and can.
  7. Give your team members visibility into the future. Don’t believe in “Knowledge is power”.
  8. Be open to information or feedback even if it feels threatening to your status.
  9. Do what’s best for the organization, not best for just you.

People who fall short on these tips are what I call fearful managers.

They fear to let go of ‘control’ and lose power.

While this approach might have worked decades ago, it is no longer a feasible approach in today’s workforce.

Over time, a fear-based manager will fail because they forgot the leadership part of the equation and are left without credibility or trust from the team.

What’s your view on this? Do you see yourself more as a leader or as a manager in your job?

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