It’s funny how we’ve come to use the terms ‘leader’ and ‘manager’ interchangeably. This is partly a lack understanding by those using the terms, but it’s often more a case of the often false assumption that those in a leadership role occupy exclusively managerial positions.
To understand this, just think about your own workplace. It only takes imagining a team member who is admired and followed despite not being formally in charge, or the narrow-minded manager who fails to inspire to see that management and leadership don’t always go hand-in-hand.
So what where do those who are leaders and those who manage diverge? James Kotterman identifies four key areas:
The leader provides the ‘big picture’, or the vision of where an organisation is going, whereas the manager is in charge of the details: creating budgets, plans and processes. While the leader typically takes a passionate view towards the vision, a manager may not, taking instead an impersonal approach to both the vision and the goals it seeks to reach.
In short, the leader provides a road map to the future, while the manager builds the road.
Human Development and Networking
A leader is often at arms-length to those who will work towards organisational goals. Many organisational leaders see their role as providing inspirational vision, and subsequently aligning the organisation with the vision. In this, they are the main point of inspiration and communication for that vision, but they’re not the one doing the day-to-day tasks — that’s the role of the manager. For managers, staffing, organisational structure, delegating responsibility and authority, and establishing policies is what’s most important.
This is the key point of difference between managers and leaders. Managers are the people primarily involved with execution. They control processes, identify and solve problems, and monitor the results of their employees.
Leaders continue to fill a broader role, focusing on motivation and inspiration.
The manager is expected to provide consistent, predictable results to key stakeholders, whereas leaders instead promote new ideas and dramatic changes. In this sense, the role of the manager is more conservative, whereas a leader is more progressive.
What’s important to remember is, despite their differences, leadership and management are not mutually exclusive traits. As your career progresses and your skills develop, it is more than possible for a manager to grow into a leadership role. Likewise, managerial skills can be taught to a visionary leader.
Lexis Training’s BSB51918 Diploma of Leadership and Management and BSB60420 Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management aim to provide participants with the training needed to plan, create, apply and evaluate solutions to unpredictable problems, as well as developing the inspirational leadership skills required to set out a corporate vision and inspire excellence in others. Contact us here to learn more about these qualifications!