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I’m Not Going to Throw Away My Shot. I’m Going to Rise Up.

There seems to be a rise in conversation around the differences in being a manger or being a leader. What really is the difference? And how can you rise up?

Google it – and you’ll find about 134 million results. No joke.

So how can we really distill it down to a few simple key differences – differences that anyone can keep in mind on a daily basis as they shape their own leadership style?

Let’s summarize:

  • Leaders aren’t always managers and managers aren’t always leaders. They are not inclusive of each other and in my opinion, a leader is far more important to an organization, group, team, etc. than a manager.

  • Leaders can take on many roles – they inspire, create vision, prepare the way, empower, roll-up their sleeves, set others up for success, give credit to those around them, expand thinking, challenge the status quo, and, and, and… Great leaders are versatile and have the best interests of the team in mind. Whereas managers are goal-oriented, focused on tasks and checking off lists, worried about quality, quantity or output, they rely on existing, proven skills or a specific way of completing tasks. They are more rigid because the focus is more on the work and less on the individuals around them.

  • But most of all, great leaders have mojo. They have swagger without ego. They are self-aware without conceit. They are confident without being cocky. Leaders offer a sense of something that others gravitate to and want to emulate. Managers can, but don’t necessarily have that mojo. They are good at their jobs and got promoted to help others be good at their jobs – and are skilled at the job – with the common theme being job.

Certainly the list could go on and on…and there is no shame in being a manager. There are millions of managers out there who do great jobs and do great work.

And I don’t know about you, but I want to be a great leader. I want to rise up. I want to inspire and support and empower and have swagger. I want my shot. And I am guessing you do to…so here’s to taking on the world! One shot at a time.

Partially inspired by Hamilton: An American Musical. Partially inspired by Emmy Beeson.

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