Are you a manager or a leader?

Employer advice

Managers and leaders are necessary for any business to run successfully. Books, articles, journals and blogs, the list is endless for how you can learn to become the best at both. However, is it your own character that determines the position you will thrive in?

Take our quiz and find out.

Question 1

It's the morning of an important client meeting and two of your employees managing it have called in sick. What do you do?

  1. Find all the necessary documents and pass this onto your most capable member who knows the client too.
  2. Take the opportunity to have a quick brainstorm amongst your team. A fresh mind on a project could conjure up new ideas and solutions.

Question 2

When your employees come to your desk, they expect to see:

  1. An Excel spreadsheet with the most up-to-date revenue and activity figures.
  2. An article on workplace changes and the latest business trends.

Question 3

The project your team were working on has encountered a major setback. After a meeting with them they:

  1. Go back to their desks and execute the actions that you have just told them.
  2. Feel calm and even excited at the thought of trying something new, even if the project must be restarted.

Question 4

The team have achieved a record-breaking quarter. How do you reward their hard work?

  1. An after-work event such as dinner and drinks to celebrate and acknowledge the success.
  2. Take them away for a team bonding day. Encouraging them to work more effectively as a team and to discuss the following quarter's goals and strategy in an informal environment to get everyone on board.

Question 5

You have the unenviable task of having to let go a well-liked but ineffective member of staff. How do you approach this?

  1. As soon as possible. Take them into a meeting room and inform them, in a polite but direct manner. It's quick and to the point.
  2. You pick to have a catch-up at the end of the day. After discussing how both you and them know that this is not where their talent lies, discuss where their career should take them with the skills they possess.

Mostly A's: You obtain the characteristics of a manager

The Oxford Dictionary defines a manager as, one who manages. One who is in charge.

This definition, albeit rather vague, is practical, based upon actions not emotions and this is the key characteristic of a manager to manage. As a manager, you are the doer, you monitor and control your staff and their duties, making sure that tasks are completed, targets are hit and the operational day-to-day running is as required. Managers tend to be direct with their employees, the end goal needs to be met and the manager is the driver who informs their staff what is expected of them and the tasks that need to be done.

A manager has a short-term focus, protecting the foundations of a company, and making sure these are stable at all times.

Mostly B's: You obtain the characteristics of a leader

To lead, according to the Oxford Dictionary is to guide, conduct, persuade and direct people

Unlike a manager, leaders tend to be emotionally invested in their employees, which should be reciprocated. To achieve this leaders coach, build relationships with and encourage their team members to be as enthused and loyal to them and the organisation as the leader is to them. Leaders are agents of change: whilst managers hold down the foundations, leaders find how to build upon them and create a stronger organisation. They take risks to achieve these goals and aren't deterred by short-term losses as its the long-term vision that will be achieved, even if it takes multiple attempts and innovative ways of doing so.

The leader creates the long-term vision and pictures where they want the company to go - they are the captain of a ship with a crew that believe in, support, and follow the same vision.

Can you muster both?

Yes you can. To be a leader and a manager is arguably one and the same. Businesses and employees need vision and control, short-term sight for long-term gains and risk within calculated reason. Both sets of characteristics should be within a company and can be found within an individual.

To find the perfect mix of both leader and manager picture a Venn diagram and where the roles overlap. This occurs across four key areas according to Forbes magazine: great leaders and great managers listen well, are curious, manage their self-talk, and hold themselves accountable for moving the business forward.

To attain both and become a great manager or leader single-handedly is achievable, take advantage of your current skills and character and adapt to what is required from the overlapping areas. It's time for you to find out how great you could be.

To read more about leadership and employee management, download our latest Focus magazine today.