I was once asked what the difference between a leader and a manager is. The question caught me and I really had to think about it. I mean, both represent authority and command varying degrees of respect. They’re certainly welcomed titles. So what’s the difference and how do they impact your MSP organization?
The obvious difference is that people follow leaders while managers have people who work for them. That’s a very practical view of those roles. But let’s take it one step further: People follow managers because they have to, but they follow leaders because they want to.
That’s the big difference.
A manager in a company can be someone who has risen in the ranks by being a reliable and productive worker, knows the product or service very well, is organized, and can somewhat manage people. They don’t particularly need to be extroverts, show much enthusiasm, or be “warm and fuzzy” at all. They just need to get the job done. Which is honorable by itself.
But a leader is noticeably different. One exhibits traits that attract others, including high integrity, a willingness to listen, and obvious respect for others. Their enthusiasm and passion can be infectious. People want to be in their presence; they want to work for that person. A leader inspires people to want to succeed and will go to great lengths to help them accomplish that. A leader is a role model.
Do you see yourself reflected in that description of a leader? Somewhat, perhaps? Maybe you’re a decent manager but need work in other areas to be viewed as a leader. The good news is that you’re already a leader of one: Yourself.
That’s a start. But to be a successful business owner, you should be a respected leader and effective manager. Being both will help you get your team “all-in” to fulfill your vision of success. Here’s some ways to get you there.
Listen to your employees – Showing real concern about the people who are around you far more each day than your family members is paramount to earning their respect. Get to know them well. Do you know all their names? Do you know what makes them happy? If you don’t, talk to them. It’s that simple.
Grow your employees – Where do they want to be in your company five years from now? Help them get there. Grow your employees and they’ll grow your company. We preach that all the time here at IT By Design. Why? Because it’s true. And we practice what we preach by offering courses for your staff through our Build IT education at work platform.
Build a welcoming culture – In today’s inclusive-hungry world, you need a workplace that people want to be a part of. They want to feel like family: respected and appreciated. They want to enjoy coming to work. I’m a huge advocate for the importance of culture in the workplace – and you should be, too!
When you’re an esteemed leader and people want to be around you, they’ll tell others. This, in turn, makes it easier to recruit talented individuals and retain existing valuable employees. It contributes to a happy, healthy culture. But more importantly, it grows your business and lays a foundation for long-term success that isn’t attainable without strong leadership and effective management.