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Are you a Leader or a Manager? 

What, in the post-pandemic world, sets those who manage, apart from those who lead? The role of corporate leaders has shifted drastically, as the needs of employees are changing day to day in these uncertain times. Now leaders must be empathetic, shape culture in a virtual working world, and inspire their team to do their best.  

Teams are scattered across cities and countries, meeting virtually, while offices remain empty in major metropolitan cities. In most professions, work is a collaborative effort, and the interactions between senior leadership and employees have taken a different shape over the past two years. Rates of depression and anxiety among workers in the U.S. are higher than ever before. Organizations require strong leadership to navigate through this transitionary period to the “new normal” in business.  

Elevating yourself from a manager to a leader is a critical transition in anyone’s career. Here are a few examples of what I believe are the difference makers for those who rise above and shift from manager to leader.  


Leader vs Manager graphic

Power vs. Influence 

The line between manager and leader is often a little blurry, but one of the best ways to differentiate the two is by looking at power and influence on your team. Managers tend to exhibit power and command control in a way that makes it clear they are the boss; the one in charge.  

The distinction that makes leaders so important in the workplace is the sphere of influence they command. Leaders are sought out for advice, not just from those within their team, but those within the company and their social circles outside of the workplace. They exhibit a distinct philosophy and mantra surrounding what they do and how they do it that causes others to buy-in and create a whole, cohesive unit, as opposed to a rigid hierarchy. As Lao Tzu said, “when the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘we did it ourselves”.  

Title vs. Quality 

A manager is often a title given within an organization, whereas leadership is a quality that is developed over time. Managers can be leaders, but you do not have to be a manager to exhibit leadership within your organization. Not everyone is a natural-born leader. For some, it takes years to develop the skills necessary to lead effectively.  

A leader does not have to be in the C-Suite. Their influence does not necessarily derive from a job title.  

Leadership is where management ends. Imagine a small group project. The leader within the team drives others to do their best work. They are concerned with doing what is right – by their colleagues and the organization. This quality of work can start at the entry level and carry on throughout a professional’s career trajectory.  

Emotional Intelligence 

Leaders with elevated levels of emotional intelligence are one of the most valuable assets a company can have, especially in 2022. Navigating the pandemic has been difficult for every employee.  

We are seeing The Great Disengagement in addition to The Great Resignation. Many workers feel detached from their company and are jumping ship because they are seeking more fulfilling, compelling work elsewhere.  

People work for people. Not companies.  

The best leaders are checking in with their co-worker’s well-being, making sure they feel respected, and their work is appreciated. They practice empathy. This allows for more effective communication and increased collaboration across the board.  

 Start Your Leadership Journey 

There is no set definition for what leadership is. These are skills that can be cultivated and honed over time. Taking the first steps to become an effective leader both professionally and in everyday life can be as easy as checking in on your coworkers, and leading by example with powerful ideas, collaborative efforts, and initiative. As we head into the new year, there is no better time than the present to Hire Today. 

Is your organization seeking an executive coach to help develop managers into leaders? Our advisory services practice can help. Are you interested in an in-depth leadership assessment and coaching session with our Hogan-certified consultants? Building self-awareness regarding the type of leader you are today is the first step. Learn more here.