Are You a Manager or a Leader? Here’s a Quick Test to Find Out!

Leaders and managers are both critically important to an organization. While the competencies required in both roles can be useful in either position, there are clear distinctions between the functions. And knowing whether you’re more naturally inclined toward a manager role or a leader role can be helpful. 

This quick test can also help you consider where you may need to develop as either a manager or a leader.

So, let’s get to it! Are you more of a manager, or more of a leader? Consider the statements below and, for each option, check the circle on the left or the circle on the right.

1.I prefer to lead a group or organization toward desired outcomes.OR…I prefer to work with individuals to help each one get to desired outcomes for a group or organization.
2.I prefer the big picture and am often thinking broadly and strategically about the organization’s best next moves.OR…I prefer thinking about the specific demands, needs, and outcomes of my team and each individual on my team.
3.I prefer thinking about enterprise-wide initiatives that shape organizational performance and culture (e.g., changes to processes or training for employee groups).
OR…I prefer focusing on coaching individuals to do their best in their roles.
4.I prefer high visibility in the organization. I am comfortable speaking to large groups and having a strong presence on social media.OR…I prefer lower visibility. I am comfortable leading my own team, but don’t desire a higher profile in the organization. I am comfortable with a less visible presence on social media.
5.I prefer the idea of a wide span of control. I like the idea of leading multiple areas with different specialties.OR…I prefer to stay focused on one area of specialty and manage a team that is focused on that.
6.I often have a big idea or vision and enjoy galvanizing people to action on the vision.ORI am often the person who helps break a big idea into manageable, actionable pieces.

Analyzing Your Results 

If the majority of your answers are on the left side you’re probably more of a leader. If you favor more statements on the right side, you’re likely a better fit as a manager. If you have a tied score, then you may be ambidextrous! 

I suggest that, for further clarity, you ask your boss, co-workers, and others to answer the questions for you. It’ll be interesting to find out how others see you!

In its simplest terms, management is about the one-to-one relationships at work. It’s about coaching and developing each employee toward their potential and desired organizational outcomes.  Leadership, on the other hand, is a one-to-many relationship. Leaders need to envision the future and orchestrate various functions to achieve the vision.

Are you a manager?

Excellent! Managers have a more direct influence on the productivity and engagement of each employee than leaders have. Their influence on the culture of the organization is profound. Everyone who has a manager wants a good one! So be a good one!

Psssttt…managers…want to maximize your potential as a manager of people? Register for Launch! The Manager’s Masterclass. It’s offered only twice a year (February and August start dates).

Are you a leader? 

Fantastic! The world needs your vision! We need you to dream big and articulate it in a way that captures our attention and helps us get aligned and focused on execution.

Maybe you’re a leader already, and you want to improve on these skills. Or maybe you’re a manager who wants to move into leadership. Can I give you a great idea? Take the Everything DiSC® Work of Leaders assessment. You’ll discover your personal inclination toward the fundamental work of leaders: Crafting a vision, building alignment, and championing execution for a team. This assessment can be a powerful springboard in your career as you learn your leadership strengths and the areas you must develop to reach your potential.

Conclusion: Leadership Doesn’t Come Naturally

While your inclination towards management or leadership is something you’re born with, the actual skills you need to excel are learned. Whether you’re more of a manager or more of a leader, developing the skills you need will benefit your entire career. It requires time, effort, and funds. But it can be well worth it. 

Look at it this way – what’s the cost of Launch! spread out over five years? A little more than $1 per day! But the benefits will last far beyond those five years! In the words of Tony Hanks (Launch! participant in 2019)…

“I wish I’d had Launch! earlier in my career. It was worth every penny invested.”

Don’t be passive about your career development.  Decide to own it! Invest in yourself or ask your manager or HR leader for growth and development opportunities. You win, and the business does, too!