We tend to use the labels manager and leader interchangeably.  Yet, each points to a specific role and set of competencies.  Based on the work of John Kotter, here’s a quick way to discern with which space – manager or leader – you identify most?

Managers feel fulfilled accomplishing finite, specific tasks.  Their focus tends to be on the more immediate gratification of short-term results.  In conversations they ask what needs to be done and how.

Leaders feel rewarded when developing people and the organization.  Their focus is on more intangible, longer-term results.  They talk about what needs to be done and why.  Their goal is to inspire others with their vision and direction.

Every organization needs a vision – a vivid description of an irresistible tomorrow that provides a sense of direction and sparks forward momentum.

Vision is an inspiring, compelling statement of aspiration.  Short, succinct, bold, forwarding-looking, the statement imbues your business with a higher sense of purpose that makes work more meaningful and fulfilling.   As you document the future you aspire to achieve, your vision statement transcends the circumstances of present-day reality.

A vision statement paints a vivid picture of the future in the minds of all internal and external stakeholders.  Within the company, it inspires each employee’s imagination about the future and serves as a touchstone for planning and decision-making.

Make a mindful choice about where you identify – managing tasks or leading the company into the future with a vision.  What ever you choose, make sure it aligns with what the business needs from the person in your position.

For more tips on successfully navigating today’s evolving workplace, read or listen to my “Office Talk” Reports as heard on KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia.

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