In today’s day and age, many people use the words leader and manager or boss, interchangeably and think they are the same thing. However, numerous leading business coaches, psychologists and entrepreneurs will tell you the characteristics that constitute a great leader and a great manager are not always the same.
The manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:
– The manager administers; the leader innovates.
– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
– The manager maintains; the leader develops.
– 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’s eye is 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.
What Is a Manager?
A manager carries out the four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. You may notice that one of the functions is leadership, so you’re probably wondering if that implies all managers are leaders. Theoretically, yes – all managers would be leaders if they were able to communicate, motivate, inspire and encourage employees towards a higher level of productivity. An employee will follow the directions of a manager because they’re required to, but an employee will voluntarily follow the directions of a leader because they believe in who the leader is as a person and what they stand for. Whereas, employees will follow the manager because of his or her job description and title.
What Is a Leader?
The greatest difference between management and leadership is that leaders do not have to hold a management title. Anyone can become a leader as the requirements for great leadership are based on the personal qualities of the leader. The leader will also try to help the employee reach their personal goals, even if those goals are different from the organizational goals.
A leader has no “power” over their followers ie. managers have subordinates, while leaders have followers. Employees have to follow their managers orders, but following is (and always will be) a voluntary choice for those who follow a leader. Leaders challenge the status quo that managers spend much of their time upholding, with the intention of bringing innovation to their organization. Leadership is visionary, adapts well to change, creative and agile. Managers are concerned with the bottom line, while leaders spend time looking at the horizon.
Counting value vs Creating value
Only managers count value; some even reduce value by crippling or slowing down those who add value. If a diamond cutter is repeatedly being distracted by being asked to report how many stones he has cut every 15 minutes, his boss is subtracting value.
By contrast, leaders focus on creating value, saying: “I’d like you to handle A while I deal with B.” Leaders produce value over and above the value that the the team has already created. Action-based-leadership is demonstrated through leading people by example and enabling them in their role.
Circles of influence vs Circles of power.
When it comes to influence vs. power, managers create circles of power while leaders create circles of influence.
Bennis states, “the quickest way to figure out which of the two you’re doing is to count the number of people outside your reporting hierarchy who come to you for advice. The more that do, the more likely it is that you are perceived to be a leader.”
Leading people vs Managing work
Management is when someone controls a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership is when someone can influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success.