Leadership versus Management

3 Tips for Getting it Right

Who Are Leaders?

There’s no role in the company that just says ‘Leader,’ exactly. A leader is a person who embodies certain traits or qualities — they’re someone who influences people to follow them. Leaders make change happen. They’re at the helm of the organization, so they should have a clear vision, and thus give direction that follows from that vision.

To an extent, leaders are also managers since they must have high performers on board, but mainly, leaders are the driving force that spurs the organization onward.

Leaders naturally have followers, but they can also have subordinates. Of course, leaders of an organization have followers as well as subordinates, because they also function as managers.

Leaders have a certain level of charisma, and they appeal to people in such a way that they’re compelled to follow the leader even if what they’re walking into is a potentially risky situation. It follows that leaders are focused on and good at dealing with people, though at the same time they maintain a respectful distance from their followers.

Leaders seek risk — though in manageable amounts. They face obstacles and issues that may end up serving the company’s goals rather than hindering it. Leaders may even break rules in order to see their goals achieved.

Who Are Managers?

Managers basically handle projects or things (like projects, budgets, and timelines), and people (for example, their team, and their clients). The job of a manager is to keep everything in line. They do things by the book, and/or as upper management dictates.

Managers command subordinates. Their authority is vested in them by the company, and in return the manager ensures that their authority is used as intended. Managers tell their people what to do, and the subordinates do it — for a reward (which is most likely their salary).

Managers themselves are subordinates to upper management, and as such they too are paid. Managers focus on work, and their focus is shared with their team members.

Managers tend to avoid risks and conflict whenever possible. They implement whatever procedures are needed in order to reach the goal set by management — who are the leaders. Managers get things done.

One As Opposed To the Other

To further our understanding of the two concepts of leadership and management, here’s more on how different they are from one another.

Leadership is making positive transformative change. It involves creating a strategy that’ll point the way to that change. People should be empowered to make the organization’s vision happen even though obstacles are in their path — and leaders must empower those people. Leadership therefore creates a team of motivated people who can move the company forward. Management, on the other hand, deals with controlling things and/or people. Managers keep everything organized. They regulate and conduct their staff in a way that follows the rules set by the company. There’s a system in place and managers may also use tools to ensure their numbers don’t drop.

So managers plan and coordinate. Leaders inspire and arouse enthusiasm.

Leadership means leading a group in pursuit of a predetermined goal. Leaders share their vision to others, then inspire and motivate people to overcome obstacles on the path to that vision.

Management means guiding the confused, motivating the unmotivated, and directing the directionless toward an agreed-upon, usually-similar goal day in and day out.

Leadership requires a particular skill set, which we’d already discussed earlier. Inversely, managers manage; they don’t lead. Managing just involves planning, forecasting, controlling, working on the budget, delegating tasks and evaluating them. Managers assign work to their staff, evaluate work and outputs, counsel their team members about performance problems, and hire and fire staff members. The manager knows what to do, and calls the shots. Nobody questions it.

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