Leading Vs. Managing Employees

by Megan Torrance
Some employees require discipline, while others just need a little direction.

Some employees require discipline, while others just need a little direction.

Leading and managing are two different tasks, but it's difficult to pull off one without the other. Managing entails maintaining a company or department overall, but leading requires a more meticulous approach. When a manager is also a leader, he proactively takes steps to direct his employees toward a successful vision for the future of the business and for the workers.

Leading Employees

Leadership is an enormous part of management, but leaders aren't necessarily driven by the facts, figures or business goals. Effective leaders have several useful personality traits, including emotional stability, dominance, enthusiasm, charisma, empathy and intuition. They empower employees to take on more responsibility in their careers and work relationships. According to the American Psychological Association, this produces less anxious and more motivated workers.

Managing Employees

Managers are responsible for maintaining business ideals and enforcing rules and regulations. Their primary focus is the success of the company. They ensure that employees understand and adhere to standards of conduct and anti-discrimination policies and may deal with employee benefits, compensation, work leave and shift schedules.

The Big Difference

Although the job is to manage the staff, a manager who is not a leader mostly just does the paperwork. A manager criticizes an employee's actions or inflicts discipline but may not have the time or focus to ensure the employee corrects the actions. A leader makes it her duty to create the necessary change.

One Without the Other

Management requires leadership -- plain and simple. A manager's actions set the tone for the workplace, and his subordinates follow what he projects. Ideal managers lead by example and understand they can't listen with their mouths open.

Manage by Leading Employees

Criticism commonly produces a cause for conflict in the workplace. Managers don't always realize the negative impact their words have on an employee's motivation. Often, employees need you to guide, direct, instruct or show them how to improve a particular flaw, rather than simply criticize them for it.

About the Author

Based in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Megan Torrance left her position as the general manager for five Subway restaurants to focus on her passion for writing. Torrance specializes in creating content for career-oriented, motivated individuals and small business owners. Her work has been published on such sites as Chron, GlobalPost and eHow.

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