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Leader or Manager: Two Distinctive Paths to Success

What is a leader? Who has been a great leader to you? I can name several, but two people come to mind when I think of a person's leadership that has changed my career trajectory. Sorry, not sorry for calling these people out.


  1. My former boss, Bridget Gilbert. Bridget has the ability to see strengths in everyone. I know she saw strength in me when I have felt my lowest. I remember she said to me one time that "she had never seen someone be so hard on themselves." For some reason, to this day that has stuck with me and I try to remember that statement daily.  

  2. My mentor and friend Keith Powell. Keith also has seen the best in me when I have been low. Keith has a really keen self-awareness that I think can be admired. He knows what he is good at and is not afraid to ask questions when he does not know something. I think he has made me realize that it takes a village to make the world go round and is not afraid to leverage the village resources.


These two people don't have a title of "leader" but they are leaders to me and many others. That leaves me to ponder, are managers also leaders? While there is a shared skillset, I think there are distinct paths to leadership and management.


Managers play a pivotal role in an organization. Managers “manage” processes, policies and move a department towards success. Managers may oversee budgets and time and schedule staffing. Their impact is tangible in an organization. Managers must harness skills for success such as: communication, decision making and conflict resolution to name a few. Managers manage tasks like projects and ensure deadlines are met.


Leadership is not a title, its an action. Leadership can be defined many things. I've included a few that I found below.


Leadership is the ability to motivate people towards a common goal. I like to say that leaders inspire us to be better humans. The two leaders I mentioned, have inspired me to be better because they know I am capable of doing better.

Cheers to the managers who organize our achievements and the leaders who dare us to dream bigger!





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