It is a known fact that people who do what they are good at are happier people. As a happy adjunct – happier people tend to be better at what they do! Interestingly, the amount of satisfaction that qualified people derive from their jobs depends on whether they are managers or leaders.

“Is there an essential difference?” you may ask yourself. “After all, managers lead people, don’t they?” Technically, this may be true. However, the fact is that managers are people who know how to get things done. They operate best when they surround themselves with people who have vision. They serve a vital and useful purpose, but managers are not necessarily highly creative people. Rather, good managers keep whatever processes already exist running smoothly.

Leaders, on the other hand, are creators. They are people who know precisely what to do, and they operate best when they surround themselves with people who can help them create. In a corporate setting, the act of creation may lie in opening up new business avenues or revamping current ones to make them more profitable.

For leaders, the job they do is a matter of passion, and they have the ability to use their passion to energize others. Observe anyone in your company in a leadership role. On phone calls, in meetings, or even next to the water cooler, they act passionately – and others follow suit. They have a specific vision, a specific game-plan and the capacity to organize combined effort to create something new.

To identify whether you are better at a manager’s job or are indeed leadership material, you obviously need to have a very clearer picture of your abilities. Your company’s employee review is one way of finding out; however, it may not always be an accurate representation of your abilities. If the company review lacks sufficient depth, it may only be able to gauge how effective you are at what you have chosen to do. It may not be able to identify leadership abilities.

There are various assessment modules and aptitude tests that can give you a very accurate picture. If you have ever experienced even a twinge of career frustration because you feel you are able to do a lot more, it makes sense to avail of them.

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Over the course of our lives, we make and achieve specific career goals because we want to advance ourselves. In the process, it is possible for us to subconsciously convince ourselves that the work we do is good and that we are successful and happy. However, many people in managerial positions find themselves in situations that challenge these assumptions. At such points, they no longer love what they’re doing – and they soon lose their effectiveness.

Are you among them?

One possible reason for this could be that you have frustrated leadership abilities. You may have a true passion for what you do, but are stuck in a manager’s position that limits these abilities. At such a point, it is worthwhile asking yourself if you’re in the right job at all. Changing this status quo would require a major change of mindset because we tend to burrow ourselves into our comfort zones.

On the other hand, the passion that burns in a person with leadership qualities will make him or her challenge the status quo. If you genuinely feel you can do justice to a leadership position, you will muster the courage to ask for one within your company. If this proves ineffective, you will quit and find a job that is equal to your abilities. However, do all you can to establish that your leadership aspirations are not based on illusions of grandeur, but rather on real passion and vision – and the aptitude to back them up.

In the final analysis, both managers and leaders serve a vital purpose in any company’s scheme of things. Both can safely be said to be indispensable in their own right, and no company can function without either. Find your calling and answer to it. The trick is being able to assess your calling accurately.

Jappreet Sethi


 

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