Turn your Management Talents into Leadership Abilities

Jun 1 2015

“You Manage Things, You Lead People.” Grace Murray Hopper

Whether you are in business to make a difference, bring a product to market, service a community in need or inspire the world you still need managers and leaders to perform key roles in order to be successful. We all may start out as managers but when opportunity knocks, how do we step up our game and become innovative leaders? Are the two mutually exclusive? Are some people natural born leaders?


Turns out that people are split on the decision of if leaders are born or made. In a recent study of 350+ C Suite executives in 53 countries conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership, CLL, 52.4% indicated leaders were made while 19.1% indicated they believed leaders were born and 28.5% said leaders were equally born and made.  The survey also noted the top three qualifications for good leaders were traits, experience and training.


Source: Center for Creative Leadership, CLL


If you are transitioning into a new role in your career or are on a trajectory to become the next great leader here are some fundamental differences to keep in mind:


The Manager

The Leader

Is action oriented

Is mission oriented

Keeps control of the task

Empowers others to complete the task

Is oriented toward efficiency

Keys in to organizational effectiveness

Makes rules

Breaks rules

Avoids conflict

Uses conflict

Is a team player who picks up on vision

Has responsibility to focus vision

Enjoys the details of maximizing project success

Concentrates on “what” needs to be done not “how”

Uses influence to get the job done

Uses influence to gain acceptance of future potential

Concretes on output

Emphasizes input

Is control oriented and focuses on specifics

Inspires and motivates toward vision

Plans and organizes all aspects of job

Coaches, mentors and teaches others to nurture their skills

Provides direction to direct reports

Provides advice, support and inspires those outside their immediate reporting circle


You can be an effective manager and a leader, they are not mutually exclusive. As your roles change over the course of your career the best advice is to learn from your experiences and never stop learning and growing. Putting that knowledge into practice will strengthen your leadership abilities and inspire those around you.


Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and writer and can be reached at jcross@crossnm.com