When I was first studying business, I used to think that the leader was the person in charge of the company and that the managers were the people he employed.
On reflection, this kind of thinking is understandable as the type of manager who were featured on the news and on the covers of magazines were the one who also happened to be great leaders.
It wasn’t until later that it become obvious that a manager can also be a leader. Leader isn’t a job title like manager, but a point of view and a way of acting.
What are the differences between leaders and managers?
When, Where and How vs. What and Why:
Leaders focus on the organisation’s overall vision and strategy, whereas managers will put their efforts into administrating day-to-day tasks and coordinating their team. Managers have short-term views which focus on Quarter 1- 4, leaders have longer-term perspectives focusing on Year 1-4. Managers always have an eye on their budgets and on the bottom line, leaders have their eyes on the horizon.
Maintenance vs. Development:
A manager will see their role as to maintain performance and sustain the business, but leaders will make it their goal to develop and grow the market. Managers accept and help to maintain the status quo but the leader challenges it.
Processes vs. People
There is a tendency for managers to focus heavily on processes, hierarchies and systems, whereas leaders focus on people and what works best for them. Managers will do things the right way while the leader does the right thing.
Authority vs. Trust
A manager will rely on their job title to give them control and authority to instruct their team. Leaders will achieve authority through trust and respect.
Is being a leader better than being a manager? Not necessarily, good managers are as important as good leaders. All organisation need good managers, they are the ones who turn the leader’s vision into a reality.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with a good leader or manager, please add your story below.