Your guide to being an effective leader!

What is the difference between thinking like a manager and thinking like a leader?

Well firstly, a manager thinks in the moment about tasks and their outcome. They are concerned with the here and now, deliverables, the getting things done.

Leadership mindset on the other hand is broad and considers each individual's needs and potential as well as the strategic picture of the broader objective of the organization, beyond the day to day. This is so important for those of us who are health practice owners (or small business owners) because to move our business forward, leadership thinking is what is going to achieve this.

Within an organization, some individuals are competent within their operational role meaning a manager has the space to be a leader. In the case an individual needs workplace training, a balance of manager and leader mindset will be required. If you are a large enough organization, you may have team members in key roles aimed at supporting those individuals who need a management approach. For those of you who are wearing multiple hats in your organization, getting the balance right is paramount!

To achieve an optimal outcome within a workplace, management needs to be more than just operational.  The leadership mindset tends to yield better outcomes in terms of people development and staff retention. People respond better to leadership that is inspiring and feels invested in growth as opposed to management that sees workers as a cog in a machine.

If a manager fails to think and act as a leader, employees can feel micromanaged rather than empowered. For mangers, failing to think like a leader means they are bogged down with the minutia of day to day rather than the bigger picture of what is trying to be achieved and the growth and potential of your business stagnates.

That’s all very well and good, but how do we avoid staying stuck in the day to day? You can shift your thinking to be less of a manager and more of a leader.

Consider your own leadership role models and the traits they demonstrate, this will provide insight into the type of leader you'd like to be and what your values as a leader are.

If you notice you are getting “bogged down in the weeds” (i.e. stuck in the day to day), consider your organization structure, your processes and procedures, your availability, diary management. What practical steps can you take to free yourself up from the details, so you can sit more in the “vision space”.

Consider your meta habits and whether they come from a manager or leader mindset. Remember that the people you are leading will determine which mindset you need to use and when.

Ultimately, use your own insight to grow your style and keep moving your business forward.


Emma Spencer

Emma is a Clinical Psychologist who has a special interest in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and families and peri-natal care.  Her background has been varied and included employment within hospital and community settings, both public and private.

Emma also worked for a number of years in consulting, as a trainer, project manager, neuropsychological assessor and also provided employment selection and transition services.