Thursday, June 16, 2016

Leader vs. Manager


What is the difference between a manager and leader? While some people are both, they have very different skill sets. I believe the 2 biggest differences between managers and leaders are:

* Their core business objectives.
* The way they motivate the people who work for or follow them.

Managers Have Subordinates
A manager has subordinates. They have a formal authority, control and responsibility for other people within an organization. The manager may also have a hierarchical authority of a team, department or division within an organization. That authority is granted to the manager by the organization. The subordinates who work for the manager generally do what they are told.

Leaders Have Followers
Leaders who are not managers have operational and project responsibility for other people in an organization. In addition, the people they lead may be across several departmental functions in an organization. They must ensure the people they are leading know their work responsibilities, but they may have limited ability to enforce what and how those people actually work.

Leaders and Managers Get Things Done Differently
Managers are very adept at executing a vision in a very systematic way and directing their subordinate employees on how to do so. They often focus on work and tasks, resources, processes and budgets. In addition, their primary focus is on keeping their area of responsibility running smoothly.

Leaders focus on achieving goals. Their primary focus is on promoting change. They keep a team motivated and empowered to achieve as much as they can. Leaders have an ability to rally employees around a vision. When their belief in the vision is so strong, they inspire employees to follow them.

Some managers can inspire and some leaders can systematically execute. But, those are not their respective core strengths. For a small organization or a start-up, the person in charge really has no choice but to be both the leader and manager. That's because it's probably just him/her and one or two others in the organization.

Understanding which you are will help you make important choices about whom you need to grow that complement your strengths and ensure the success of your organization. Understanding who your leaders are and who your managers are will help you create an organizational that addresses core business functions and needs, as well as promote positive morale and culture.

1 comment:

  1. David you made a number of very good observations. However this topic goes way beyond those points. For example, the leader’s function is determining priorities while the manager is in charge of managing resources. The leader is in charge of the strategy while the manager manages the operations. The leader is in charge of the company vision while the manager manages tasks. The role of the leader is to mentor and the manager is rather a coach. And, of course this is not the end of a list.

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