The One Difference Between Managers & Leaders

One Difference Between Managers & Leaders_1.png

Managers are NOT leaders. To be precise, not all managers are leaders, and becoming a manager does not automatically make one is a leader. 

The role of any manager is prescribed within their job description, whereby they are placed in charge of a project or team. Yet, organisations do not need managers; they need leaders who fulfil managerial roles. How do we get leaders then? Logically, it seems unlikely that merely being granted a job role also bestows leadership ability upon that person. Some might assume that seniority and experience are where leadership skills are honed. But, as almost anyone can testify, that usually isn’t the case. 

Having trained thousands of managers, our team at Centre for Creative Thinking can say with confidence that there is only one thing that truly separates most managers from becoming leaders: Emotional Intelligence, also known as EQ. Leaders are those who understand and care about people, emotions and relationships. 

Leaders don’t manage people. Leaders lead people, and manage things

One Difference Between Managers & Leaders_2.png

What is EQ?

EQ is all about understanding one’s emotion (referred to as ‘self-awareness) and managing it to any given situation (referred to as ‘self-management’). EQ is also about recognising how other people feel by picking up their emotional signals and status (referred to as ‘social awareness’ or ‘empathy’) and using this knowledge to respond to people (referred to as ‘social relationship’).

Emotional Intelligence is all about self-management and relationship management. The benefits of EQ start the moment we are prepared to think and behave differently using the Emotional Intelligence. The mastery of EQ is the starting point to move forward and create a new level of experience for ourselves and others.

From managers to leaders

One Difference Between Managers & Leaders_3.png

Research findings over the past decade have confirmed the importance of EQ in the workplace. When managers become competent in EQ skills, teams perform better with higher levels of performance and motivation. Organisations with managers who master EQ skills have also been shown to enjoy a better bottom line.

The EQ competent manager is far more effective in connecting the team members, laying out the purpose and vision of the organisation. With a mastery of EQ skills, managers shift from micro-managing every task to influencing and inspiring their team at a personal and emotional level to reach greater heights. They know how to handle each key stakeholder by customising their approach to suit the emotional status and well-being of the person, while remaining focused on the overall strategy and goal of their organisation.

What’s Next?

Knowing the importance of EQ is one thing, yet actually striving to make the effort to become more emotionally aware of ourselves and others is much more of an unknown. What practical steps can we actually take to experience the benefits of EQ in our own workplace and lives? The following are a few simple steps that anyone can take this week to become more EQ competent.

  1. Spend time with team members to understand each person and what matters to them – their aspirations, goals and values
  2. Ask each person to identify one thing that is working well in the team/workplace, and how this contributes to their well being and the organisation’s success
  3. Ask each team member this: “if there is one thing we could do to make our workplace a great success, what will that be”?

With these simple questions, we can be sure to gain insight into our team members as people, not statistics, and view their concerns and ideas as opportunities, not distractions

One Difference Between Managers & Leaders_4.png

Acting on the responses collected, any manager can take major steps towards exploring possible interventions that bring about changes in the way they communicate, motivate, and act, beginning their transition from manager to leader. 

The EQ competent manager knows how to succeed by paying attention to people and relationships. They use EQ skills to lead people, while managing things.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or want to reach out to me, my email is Let me know if I can be of any help  You might also want to check out the Managers Guide to Innovation & Creativity