A lot is made about the differences between managers and leaders in organisations. In fact, you’re never too far away from a LinkedIn post canvassing opinion on the subject.

Leaders are the direction setting visionaries. Managers the task focused administrators.

So that’s that settled then.

But it’s a false dichotomy and too simplistic to suggest that the roles are disconnected or that one might not need the skills of the other.

This has been particularly true in 2020.

Throughout lockdown we’ve seen how individuals working in organisations have looked to their direct managers for leadership.

They’ve needed support, coaching, direction, connection, development, feedback, holding to account and inspiration.

They’ve craved certainty where it hasn’t existed and longed for the day when the new normal magically appeared and we could all go back to a sense of the familiar.

They’ve wanted to know what would happen to their colleagues and friends on furlough and of course, what would happen to them.

All via a green dot.

Managers have had to become leaders whilst living with the discomfort, the imposter syndrome and the missing pieces of their emotional toolkits.

They’ve done their best.

As we start to emerge and design a new way of working, our role is to tune-in to people’s changing expectations of their manager and to help managers step up to deliver.

Not as task focused administrators. But as empathic people leaders.