How Do Leaders and Managers Differ?

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How Do Leaders and Managers Differ?


Sean: I want to start with a question. What’s the big difference between a leader and a manager?

Darby: Yeah, well, first I will say, in our world in general, we love to have this or that. You can be this or you can be that. And I actually start off the whole premise of my book with this idea of you’ve heard the question or you may have been asked the question, are you a manager or are you a leader? And I start off the book by saying, that’s a ridiculous question. Like, I know quite a few managers that are really good leaders. And if you say, are you this or that, it kind of gives you the idea that you can’t be both. You have to be one or the other.

Darby: And those manager folks are the ones who are – these are skills like people who are highly organized, they’re methodical. They’re all about, how are we going to do this? What are we going to do? This is how it’s going to get done. They’re the ones that are able to identify. These are the challenges or the barriers we’re going to overcome. They’re the ones that are checking a box to make sure the stuff gets done.

Darby: The visionary folks, if you’re on that side of that, if you think of it as a spectrum, if you’re on that side of the spectrum, those folks are that the high idea people, they think of a lot of ideas, a lot of entrepreneurs who start businesses are high visionary, not all of them, but a lot of them are. So they think of a lot of ideas every day. They’re the folks that are highly passionate. They’re the ones that – they’re not saying what or how. They’re the ones that are saying why we’re doing it. This is why we’re doing it. This is why it’s important. And in their mind, when they think of an idea like they can visualize it, it’s done. ‘We’re there.’

Darby: Now, here’s the deal. You need people that have both sets of skills. You either need people that are on both sides, or you need individuals who can pull in both sets of skills because you don’t want to be at either end of that spectrum.

Darby: If you’re that high manager person, you’re way over there on the left side of that spectrum. Then that person may only be focused on checking a box and getting stuff done. They don’t care why they’re doing it. They don’t care about who they have to snow plow through to get it done. They just need to get it done. If you’re way over there on the other side, you don’t really care about how it gets done. You just have all these ideas and in your head it’s already done. So what’s going to happen is you’re going to frustrate people because you’re going to move on to the next idea and the next idea and the next idea, and nothing is going to get done.

Darby: So what you’ve got to do is, is instead of thinking of it as a spectrum, I encourage folks to think about it more like a Venn diagram where you have two intersecting circles and try to choose the best traits from both sides of that spectrum and put those into what I’m calling The Indispensable Leader, which is the title of the book. So if you pull in the best traits of both sides and try to utilize those best things and understand what those are, that’s going to help you be more indispensable, be the best leader that you can possibly be.

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