These days, a management position is something people work towards, but what makes a person qualified to be a manager? Often, a combination of education and experience prepares one to compete for management positions in their field.
In terms of education, programs that teach management skills can be a great jumping off point for managers in training.
If this is the direction you imagine your career path taking, have you ever considered becoming more than a manager? What I mean by that is have you ever considered becoming a leader?
You might think that being a manager and being a leader is the same thing, but that’s not necessarily true. According to an article for CareerBuilder.com, there are a few things that leaders do that set them apart as leaders and not just another manager. Check out these three tips to becoming a leader:
Inspire your employees to perform well.
Managers are in charge of making sure things get done, right? Well, one way you can tell if someone is a leader and not just a manager is to consider how they get the job done. Do you think a leader berates or encourages the team? Do you think a leader inspires the team to work better or intimidates the team to work harder? So how are you planning on getting the job done?
Share and communicate your vision.
What’s the difference between a plan and a vision? A plan is an organized way of getting things done, but it’s hard to be inspired by a plan. If you want people to give their job their all, then it is important for them to see the bigger picture of what they are working for – the vision. Leaders can communicate their vision and show how each task plays a role in the overall picture.
Develop your management skills.
Whoa, wait a minute! Aren’t we supposed to be talking about leaders here?
Well, that’s just it. Leaders are also excellent managers. A true leader is on top of the management game, but also has the vision needed to advance the organization in the right direction.
Still confused about the difference between a leader and a manager? BusinessDictionary.com puts it this way:
Leadership in an organizational role involves (1) establishing a clear vision, (2) sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly, (3) providing the information, knowledge, and methods to realize that vision, and (4) coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members or stakeholders… Unlike management, leadership flows from the core of a personality and cannot be taught, although it may be learned and may be enhanced through coaching or mentoring.
As you work toward a management position, keep in mind the differences between a manager and a leader, and decide for yourself which one you want to be.