Are You a Manager or a Leader? The Difference Matters

Leadership Transformation

IMG 1147 scaled
Business folks at a leadership transformation event
IMG 1134 scaled

By Ken Gavranovic, with insights from Dorie Clark and Marshall Goldsmith

In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s crucial to understand the difference between being a manager and being a leader. As Marshall Goldsmith, the world-renowned leadership coach, puts it, “One of the most important differences between managers and leaders is that managers work to get people to do what is needed, while leaders work to get people to want to do what is needed.

Great leaders inspire and empower their teams to achieve a shared vision. They don’t just push people to do what’s necessary; they motivate them to reach their full potential. As Dorie Clark, the author of “The Long Game,” says, “The best leaders are focused on creating a culture of growth and development. They prioritize helping their team members build new skills and take on new challenges.”

In my experience, the most effective leaders are givers, not takers. They prioritize contributing value to others and building trust through humility, vulnerability, and openness to feedback. This servant leadership approach enables them to create loyal followers who are invested in the company’s success.

Leaders also drive innovation, growth, and change by embracing risk and thinking strategically. They look beyond day-to-day operations to focus on the big picture and are willing to challenge the status quo in pursuit of a greater goal. As Dorie Clark notes, “Visionary leaders are always scanning the horizon for new opportunities and thinking about how to position their organizations for long-term success.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always achieve my goals of being a leader, but I constantly strive for it. My aim with everyone and every company I work for is to help them develop skills that will benefit both the organization and their personal growth. When you do that, amazing things happen.

I’ve witnessed the power of leadership firsthand. I once had an engineer who wanted to improve their public speaking skills. By arranging opportunities for them to present at meetings, they not only inspired their colleagues but also gained the confidence to pursue their dream of becoming a priest. Years later, they reached out to share the success of their thriving congregation.

Another time, I recognized the potential in an employee who was brilliant but lacked self-assurance. By encouraging them to be their best self and setting them up for success, their confidence soared. Today, they hold a senior vice president position at a Fortune 100 company.

Leadership transformation also means valuing diverse thoughts and opinions. In one instance, during a meeting about a struggling project, a junior female engineer proposed a solution that differed from the manager’s approach. Despite being quickly dismissed, I encouraged her to speak up again and made sure her idea was heard. Her solution got the project back on track, and she has since become a leader who revolutionized the company’s product engine. That one moment of advocacy helped her find her voice and become her best self.

As Marshall Goldsmith emphasizes, “The best leaders are not necessarily great managers, and the best managers are not necessarily great leaders. The skill sets are different.” However, when you work hard at being a leader, incredible things happen to your employees, customers, partners, company, and even your family.

Leadership is about believing in the unlimited potential of people. As Dorie Clark says, “Great leaders help their team members see possibilities that they may not have seen for themselves.” By modeling leadership principles and empowering others to grow, you can create a ripple effect of positive change.

In closing, remember that the past is written, the future is uncertain, and all we have to focus on is NOW. Be a great leader, model it, and watch as the results show up in every aspect of your life and business.

Ken Gavranovic

Deception is Our Remedy by Alexandra GavranovicP.S. I want to share a personal story that exemplifies the impact of leadership. My daughter Alexandra Gavranovic, who is typically very shy, decided two years ago that she wanted to write a dystopian novel. Despite her reservations, I encouraged her to pursue her dream, believing in her unlimited potential. Now, 400 pages and two years later, she has completed her novel. This experience has not only helped her grow as a writer but has also boosted her confidence in all aspects of her life.

As leaders, when we believe in others and support their aspirations, we help them achieve things they never thought possible. That’s the true power of leadership transformation. Check out her book at Amazon

And of course, I can’t forget to acknowledge my great mentor, and NY Times Best Seller: Dorie Clark.

IMG 1049 scaled
Dorie Clarke, Author of "The Long Game" - NY Times Best Seller
IMG 1051 scaled
Marshall Goldsmith, #1 Coach in the world and NY Times Best Selling Author

PS: When you lead with purpose, you meet amazing people and accomplish things you never thought possible. Even more importantly, your team begins to surprise themselves with their capabilities.


Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment