Leader vs Manager


Leaders

Managers

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Both a manager and a leader may know the business well. But the leader must know it better and in a different way. S/he must grasp the essential facts and the underlying forces that determine the past and present trends in the business, so that s/he can generate a vision and a strategy to bring about its future. One telling sign of a good leader is an honest attitude towards the facts, towards objective truth. A subjective leader obscures the facts for the sake of narrow self-interest, partisan interest or prejudice.

Effective leaders continually ask questions, probing all levels of the organization for information, testing their own perceptions, and rechecking the facts. They talk to their constituents. They want to know what is working and what is not. They keep an open mind for serendipity to bring them the knowledge they need to know what is true. An important source of information for this sort of leader is knowledge of the failures and mistakes that are being made in their organization.

To survive in the twenty-first century, we are going to need a new generation of leaders — leaders, not managers. The distinction is an important one. Leaders conquer the context — the turbulent, ambiguous surroundings that sometimes seem to conspire against us and will surely suffocate us if we let them — while managers surrender to it.

Leaders investigate reality, taking in the pertinent factors and analyzing them carefully. On this basis they produce visions, concepts, plans, and programs. Managers adopt the truth from others and implement it without probing for the facts that reveal reality.

There is profound difference — a chasm — between leaders and managers. A good manager does things right. A leader does the right things. Doing the right things implies a goal, a direction, an objective, a vision, a dream, a path, a reach.

Lots of people spend their lives climbing a ladder — and then they get to the top of the wrong wall. Most losing organizations are over-managed and under-led. Their managers accomplish the wrong things beautifully and efficiently. They climb the wrong wall.

Managing is about efficiency. Leading is about effectiveness. Managing is about how. Leading is about what and why. Management is about systems, controls, procedures, policies, and structure. Leadership is about trust — about people.

Leadership is about innovating and initiating. Management is about copying, about managing the status quo. Leadership is creative, adaptive, and agile. Leadership looks at the horizon, not just the bottom line.

Leaders base their vision, their appeal to others, and their integrity on reality, on the facts, on a careful estimate of the forces at play, and on the trends and contradictions. They develop the means for changing the original balance of forces so that their vision can be realized.

A leader is someone who has the capacity to create a compelling vision that takes people to a new place, and to translate that vision into action. Leaders draw other people to them by enrolling them in their vision. What leaders do is inspire people, empower them.

They pull rather than push. This "pull" style of leadership attracts and energizes people to enroll in a vision of the future. It motivates people by helping them identify with the task and the goal rather than by rewarding or punishing them.

There is a profound difference between management and leadership, and both are important "To manage" means "to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct." "Leading" is "influencing, guiding in direction, course, action, opinion." The distinction is crucial.

Management is...                                   Leadership is....

Coping with complexity                          Coping with and promoting change

Planning and Budgeting                           Setting a Direction

Organizing and Staffing                           Aligning People

Controlling and Problem Solving              Motivating and Inspiring People

Effective Action                                       Meaningful Action

Both are necessary and important.

Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing. The difference may be summarized as activities of vision and judgment — effectiveness —versus activities of mastering routines — efficiency. The chart below indicates key words that further make the distinction between the two functions:

· The manager administers; the leader innovates.

· The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.

· The manager maintains; the leader develops.

· The manager accepts reality; the leader investigates it.

· The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.

· The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.

· The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.

· The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.

· The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader has his or her eye on the horizon.

· The manager imitates; the leader originates.

· The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.

· The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.

· The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

The most dramatic differences between leaders and managers are found at the extremes: poor leaders are despots, while poor managers are bureaucrats in the worst sense of the word. Whilst leadership is a human process and management is a process of resource allocation, both have their place and managers must also perform as leaders. All first-class managers turn out to have quite a lot of leadership ability.

With thanks to "Learning to Lead"
by Warren Bennis and Joan Goldsmith

 
 

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