How to Strive to Lead Instead of Manage

Managing people effectively is more than just making sure that they are doing their jobs. It’s about creating and maintaining a workplace that inspires employees to succeed. While you can be a manager without being a leader, you won’t be as effective as a manager who leads their team. Here are some of the ways that great leaders inspire their employees.

Walk the Talk

Managers are responsible for the overall operation of the business, and can sometimes fall into the trap of giving orders and not really understanding the impact of their directives. A leader is involved with their employees and will work with them for the benefit of the company, instead of simply giving orders and monitoring performance.

Take Care of People

A good leader realizes the value of their people. And, people encompasses many individuals. It’s not just their customers who supply the revenue, but also their employees, their superiors, any company vendors, and even their neighboring businesses. Leaders understand the value of¬†long-lasting business relationships.

Develop People

Leaders realize the value of their people, and are always looking for each of their employee’s individual strengths. Of course, it’s also their job to be aware of any weaknesses. The difference between a leader and a manager is that a leader will help their employees grow professionally with honest communication about their strengths and weaknesses. Then, they will work with them to further develop their strengths or to overcome any obstacles that are hindering performance.


A leader realizes the importance of goals, and demonstrates it to their team.

  • Leaders have their own professional goals, and will willingly share them with their employees.
  • They will help their team set specific, measurable¬†goals.
  • Leaders will involve their employees with the company’s goals, monitor their performance, and reward individuals publicly when goals are achieved.


A good leader realizes the importance of delegation. By engaging their employees with challenging responsibilities, leaders are able to get more accomplished while nurturing their team and helping them grow professionally.


Leaders communicate openly, honestly, and often. They know how valuable it is for everyone to be on the same page, as well as the damage that can be caused by not having effective communication.

Involve Employees in the Decision Making Process

Whenever possible, leaders will seek the feedback of their team when making decisions or instituting change.

Balance the Work Environment

Leaders strive to maintain a work environment that is both challenging and fun, making their employees enjoy their job rather than just doing it.

The best managers are leaders. And, the best leaders focus on their people. Focusing on leadership while managing will not only strengthen your company, it will also develop your people and yourself.