The Difference Between a Leader and a Manager
Development Is Required for Advancing on the Job
Leadership qualities are characteristics that propel a manager upward in the company to a long-term career as a leader. These qualities produce increased business results for the company and for the customers or clients that it serves.
Regardless of company and department dynamics, some managers remain stymied in the same occupational title and pay level for decades.
They become "too valuable in their positions to replace" and "not valuable enough" as assets for the administration to further develop and kick up the ladder to better wages and more responsibility.
Such professional development may be viewed as a risky gamble by leadership. Training costs and replacement costs to develop a manager may be too formidable as well.
We have seen the portrayal in literature and on-screen of the frustrated, hardworking manager who toils around the clock in rolled-up shirtsleeves. In fact, this is a solid stereotype.
Such a hands-on manager can be inspiring to subordinates, but can also work himself into illness. He or she likely could accomplish more for the company by delegating duties and leading subordinates into a network that is structured for optimal results.
Leader. Leading. Leadership.
One of these words might be the first that comes to mind when someone asks themselves, "What qualities make a good manager?"
That word might or might not be part of any individual person that is a manager. Not all managers lead. Some do best in taking direction, not providing it.
Some people may think that a manager and a leader are actually the same, but they are not necessarily identical. An effective manager will have leadership qualities and management skill is only one facet of leadership.
A leader possesses a natural set of talents that inspire people to follow, to be loyal, and to produce.
Some managers have these qualities, but others do not possess them or have them to a degree that can be enhanced through training and coaching.
Ongoing Professional Development targets that need and a good alternative is Self-Improvement Training through books, online materials, a career coach, a counselor, a job club, a professional organization, or other entities and resources.
Those managers that do not have specific leadership qualities and some who do not receive guidance to draw them out often work much harder than do their subordinates. They may even become workaholics and may become resentful of subordinates.
Functions of a Manager
In some instances, a manager is a babysitter with a glorified title. This might be someone that accepts the title "manager" and by doing so, helps to lower an organizational framework for a group of people. This establishes a pecking order in a type of informal Vertical Team.
If the manager in the group does not use leadership qualities to their best advantage, the dynamics of the workgroup may change for the worse. Murmuring begins, production lowers, and people quit.
Sometimes a manager is actually a front-line worker, paid just a bit more than subordinates in order to set a faster, more productive work pace. In factories of the early 20th century, these individuals were called "straw bosses."
I have known managers that earned only five cents per hour more than their subordinates, yet produced 50% more work output. This is not fair.
A manager and a leader are not necessarily the same. Effective management is a skill needed by leaders in order to be effective and to rise in the workplace to higher, more responsible, and better-paying job in a lifelong career.
What is Leadership?
- Leadership is one characteristic of an effective manager.
The best goal of a manager is to maximize work output for the company. To do so, effective managers must:
- Plan and schedule
- Hire, staff, develop, and fire as needed
- Direct assigned operations
- Control production and costs
- Act as a role model, perhaps by working in production himself, as needed
At times, leadership is not even required in management - very self-motivated teams do not always need a central leader (this is more like a democratic Horizontal Team). Other times, a natural leader may arise in a workgroup, and is not the Manager. This may result in conflict.
Point of View
- Managers often think in terms of production and
- Leaders think in terms of the future.
Managers may follow manuals and quotas while Leaders follow their own vision and innovation.
- Managers work, while leaders think and create.
Managers are often a cog in the company wheel of production, while leaders are outside production and stand out in their differences.
Best Effective Leader Skills
Aside from the foregoing discussion, effective leaders need these skills:
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- Effective, Appropriate, and Timely Communication
- Calm During Crises - Confidence and skillful problem-solving
- Ability to Delegate
- Team-Building Skills
Additional characteristics, skills, and personal qualities will enhance the work of and the results achieved by both leaders and managers, and the above list is a very good foundation upon which to build an effective, growing job personality. Such a person will enable workers to continue to grow in their current job, acquire new skills, gain promotions, become a leader, and move up the corporate hierarchy.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Is it correct that not all leaders are good managers, but all managers are leaders?
No, all managers are not leaders. In fact, some managers feel like waitstaff and babysitters because they organize, coordinate, and schedule people, activities, and things, but never have the opportunity to plan or to produce visions for the future. Some leaders are no good at scheduling, etc., so they hire managers.Helpful 3
© 2008 Patty Inglish MS