The single biggest influence on an employee’s job satisfaction and retention are the managers that supervise them. In order to be a successful manager, it is important to not only delegate and oversee your team of workers but you must also be a strong leader. Outstanding leaders are groomed over time through mentorships and encouraging support systems. This series will look at leadership in terms of attracting, acquiring and retaining quality talent.

It is often said the people leave bosses, they do not leave their jobs. This is because leaders play such an important role in the climate of a company. Often managers “move up the corporate ladder” with little or no training in how to successfully lead a team. There are very clear differences between managing people and leading them. Here are some of the most important distinctions that set leaders apart.

Managers maintain the status quo, leaders are change agents: Managers will often stick with what is working. They will typically adopt the “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” mentality. On the contrary, leaders embrace change. Even when something is working, they look for alternate ways to make things even better. They understand that change causes discomfort but without that discomfort, growth can’t happen.

Managers focus on processes, leaders build relationships – Managers will focus on the systems in place to achieve a goal. Analytics are necessary for managers to measure the success or failures of projects. Leaders will focus on people. They understand who the stakeholders are and how to influence them in order to realize their vision. Building trust and loyalty is very important to successful leaders because they know loyal team members will want to work towards the success of the organization.

Managers fall back on existing skills, leaders strive for growth – Most managers will rely on the same skills that got them to their management position, only looking to strengthen existing skills. Leaders know if they are not learning something new every day, not only are they standing still, they are falling behind. They possess a natural curiosity that encourages them to keep their skills current in an ever-changing business world.

Successful business owners need to learn how to balance being a strong leader and manager. Achieving this balance will ensure a loyal team that shares the same vision for success.