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Leader or Manager: Which One Are You?

Servicemembers are taught to be leaders on the first day of boot camp. And leadership skills are a premium in corporate America. What's more, employers think being a leader is synonymous with being a manager. However, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) found being a leader and a manager are very different.The SBA compared the personality styles, goals, conception of work and relationships with others between leaders and managers and found several differences. Read below to see whether you are a leader or manager.

Personality styles:

Managers - This group emphasizes rationality and control. Managers are problem-solvers and focus on goals, resources, organizational structure and people. They often ask, "What problems have to be solved, and what are the best ways to achieve results so that people will continue to contribute to this organization?"

Leaders - Leaders are perceived as brilliant, but sometimes lonely. They achieve control of themselves before they try to control others. And, leaders can visualize a purpose and generate value in work. This group is described as imaginative, passionate and non-conforming risk-takers.

Attitudes toward goals:

Managers - Managers adopt personal, almost passive attitudes toward goals, according to the SBA. This group chooses goals based on necessity instead of a desire and, as a result, are tied to their company's corporate culture.

Leaders - Leaders tend to take a proactive approach to promoting their ideas. Leaders try to shape ideas rather than respond. In addition, this group provides a vision that alters the way people think about what is desirable, possible and necessary.

Conception of work:

Managers - Managers view work as an enabling process. They try to establish strategies and make decisions based on people and ideas. This group continually coordinates and balances opposing views. Additionally, managers are good at reaching compromises and mediating conflict between coworkers.

Leaders - A leader develops new approaches to long-standing problems and opens issues to new options. A leader will first use his or her idea to excite people and only then develop choices that give the idea substance.

Relations with others:

Managers - A manager prefers to work with others. Solitary activity makes them anxious. Managers are collaborative, maintain a low level of emotional involvement in relationships, they attempt to reconcile differences, seek compromises, and establish a balance of power. This group also maintains controlled, rational, and equitable structures. Some employees may view this type of manager as inscrutable, detached and manipulative.

Leaders - Leaders maintain inner perceptiveness that they can use in their relationships with others. The SBA characterizes leaders as intuitive, empathetic, and focused on what events and decisions mean to the participants. A leader might also create a turbulent, intense and at times disorganized environment.

Military personnel can be great leaders and managers. Veterans know that the leadership skills are already there, but when veterans transition into civilian careers it's vital to hone managerial skills.

The SBA advises that leaders, who want to be better managers, find a mentor. This mentor should be someone admirable and that a leader can connect with who can help develop a veteran's natural talents and interests.

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