Leadership doesn't equal management: Here's the difference

Leadership doesn‘t equal management: Here’s the difference

You might be a solid manager but not thought of as a leader: here's how to change that for you and your whole team.

Leadership doesn't equal management but it's something that even experienced business owners and senior team members don't necessarily understand.

Let's look at it together and diagnose where you are on the levels of leadership competency—if you're managing or leading, need better development or are already able to lead other leaders.

First thing to consider is the four levels of leadership, says The Coaching Institute's head trainer and mentor Matt Lavars.

And before we dive into it—if you're reading this it means like all successful people you're  into leadership and management, so you might be a great fit for TCI's first global virtual Disruptive Leadership summit on June 13.

Before then, you can get familiar the leadership levels:

  1. Reactive
  2. Dictator
  3. Action
  4. Optimal

There's below the line (1 and 2) and above the line (3 and 4) leadership. And we all want to be above the line

It's something great to work towards. Here's what it means and how to do it:

So when it comes to how leadership doesn't equal management, below the line is reactive and dictator.

"A reactive leader is someone is constantly reacting, never responding to challenges. They're constantly putting fires without thinking about the cause of the fire," says Matt.

"They're always stressed out, worried, dealing with challenges coming up that they're not prepared for."

Always busy. Overwhelmed.

At this level, a reactive leader doesn't really think structurally, which means they put Band Aids, not lasting solutions, on things.

Then there's the dictator.

"A dictator is someone who becomes more confident in the face of challenges but is pointing the finger all the time," says Matt.

"Unlike a reactive leader who avoids challenge head on, a dictator doesn't mind challenge but doesn't do well when it comes to communication or giving and receiving feedback."

A dictator has an unresourceful emotional point of view where when they're stressed out or there's a problem inside the team, they look for someone else to blame.

"Could be they point the finger at an individual who is 'most likely the problem' or they blame the outside world or upper management. They're always looking for faults in something," says Matt.

Their feedback is not about growth, but discipline.

These two levels equal really bad management.

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Above the line is where while leadership doesn't equal management, there's a huge difference between levels.

Let's talk action. An action leader is someone who leads their team through demonstration.

The downside to this is they only way they know how to get their team running smoothly and achieving benchmarks and doing it gracefully and loving it is by being a functional team player themselves.

This is a great level of leadership but the downside is because they're on the field playing with everyone else, they only way they can lead the team is by being in the thick of things.

They can never step back and work completely on the business.

Optimal leaders are, as the name suggests, the best you can get.

They see a brightness of future for all their team members. They care about the development of the person, not just how they can get the person to do the job.

And that changes the game.

Optimal leaders want each team member to be singing their song and in a role that allows them to express their talents and be their best. It's all about supporting them to grow into their own leadership abilities.

One way to think about this level is you're replicating yourself as a leader compared to an action leader, who knows how to lead but is unsure how to replicate themselves so others can step up.

The dream team? Where everyone is an action leader, with a handful of optimal leaders to develop the rest to their level.

To hear how to be a strong and effective leader in changing times, join TCI on June 13 for its first ever Disruptive Leadership telecast.

Above the line is where while leadership doesn't equal management, there's a huge difference between levels.

Let's talk action. An action leader is someone who leads their team through demonstration.

The downside to this is they only way they know how to get their team running smoothly and achieving benchmarks and doing it gracefully and loving it is by being a functional team player themselves.

This is a great level of leadership but the downside is because they're on the field playing with everyone else, they only way they can lead the team is by being in the thick of things.

They can never step back and work completely on the business.

Optimal leaders are, as the name suggests, the best you can get.

They see a brightness of future for all their team members. They care about the development of the person, not just how they can get the person to do the job.

And that changes the game.

Optimal leaders want each team member to be singing their song and in a role that allows them to express their talents and be their best. It's all about supporting them to grow into their own leadership abilities.

One way to think about this level is you're replicating yourself as a leader compared to an action leader, who knows how to lead but is unsure how to replicate themselves so others can step up.

The dream team? Where everyone is an action leader, with a handful of optimal leaders to develop the rest to their level.

To hear how to be a strong and effective leader in changing times, join TCI on June 13 for its first ever Disruptive Leadership telecast.

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