And, yes, an organisation needs both for optimal organisational efficiency.
It’s a common misconception that being a good manager means you’re a good leader and vice versa. Both are important and an organisation can’t function without either. While there are a lot the two have in common, we’ve listed down a few of the key differentiators to help you understand the distinction.
1. Leaders provide direction through vision
Leaders motivate their workforce by developing a strong organisational vision and inspiring them to achieve it. They look at the larger picture, about what is possible and then help the workforce see that they can be a part of something bigger than themselves. Leaders use their vision to influence and motivate employees to rise to the occasion and accomplish a lot more. Managers are focused on structure and responsibilities. They laying down measurable goals for employees to work towards, and are concerned with whether objectives are being met.
2. Leaders lead through trust
Trust is a key component of the relationship good leaders share with their employees. Leaders work to create an atmosphere of trust by walking the talk and delivering on their promises. They encourage ideation, innovation, and collaboration. Employees put their faith in leaders they respect and aren’t shy to speak out because they know they will be heard. Managers on the other hand set processes and policies and get work done through control, sometimes through the carrot and stick approach.
3. Leaders are agents of change
Good leaders are innovators, disruptors, forces of transformation. They encourage change and are constantly looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve. Leaders are never satisfied with the status quo and understand that change is the only constant. Their actions disrupt the system and they’re skilled at riding the wave of change. Managers are focused on stability, through planning, organising, etc. They stay within the company’s formal structures and processes. However, they work hard to perfect these systems so as to drive greater efficiency.
4. Leaders have long-term vision
Leadership requires strategic foresight, the ability to look at the larger picture and develop strategies to work towards a distant goal. Leaders give the company a strategic direction based on the organisation’s needs. Managers for their part have a short-range vision; they are focussed on directing and monitoring their team so as to achieve specific goals set before them. Good managers have mastered the art of execution and so have an eye for detail.
5. Leaders focus on relationships
A company is only as good as its employees. So good leaders work hard to building relationships so as to inspire, influence and motivate. They focus on all the stakeholders pivotal to accomplishing the vision and seek strong connects with them. They don’t rely on threats or fear, but empowerment, mentorship and trust to ensure the workforce performs enthusiastically and willingly. Managers are more analytical; they are focussed on formulating processes and systems. They build the structures necessary to achieve business goals. Managers deal with the technical aspects of an employee’s job content, goals, etc and provide the resources necessary to achieve those goals.
Photograph: Katemangostar – Freepik.com