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Leaders vs Managers Essay

According to many scholars, management is a basically the implementation of already established processes such as planning, staffing, measuring performance and budgeting thereby enabling an organization to do well. On the other hand, leadership is entirely different. It can be described as taking an organization to the future, exploring and successfully exploiting opportunities that come up.

Leadership is about having vision, empowerment and most importantly providing useful change in the organization. The main differences between leaders and managers are: the relationship between the followers and managers and leaders, how leaders and managers solve problems, and the difference in emotional intelligence between leaders and managers.

Leaders and managers have a difference in emotional intelligence. A leader is an individual who strategizes a visionary and most importantly someone who inspires other people to greatness. In order to achieve this, while leading one must share their vision with the staff or people brought together to solve a problem or create a strategy. Leaders serve as role models, motivate their staff, inspire cooperation and create a community both inside and outside of the organization. They mostly follow their intuition which in most cases benefits the company and in most cases they gain followers who become loyal to them and the organization.

This is a direct contradiction to managers who carry out their instructions by the book and follow the organization’s policy to the letter and as a result the staff may or may not be loyal to them. Even when the idea of a divinely appointed leader prevailed, there existed a contrary view that the leader was actually empowered by followers, this theory was analyzed by Thomas Paine “Titles are but nicknames…it is common opinion only that makes them anything or nothing . . . . [A]body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody” (1944, pp. 59-60, 63).

Another major difference between leaders and managers is how their duties and relationship with their followers differ. A leader creates or rather innovates whilst the manager administers , meaning that the leader is the individual who comes up with fresh ideas in order to move the bulk of the organization into a new direction that is more beneficial and profitable. He has to come up with new strategies and tactics by keeping his focus on the horizon constantly. It is important for him to be updated on the latest trends as well as studies and the skill sets.

Contrary to this, a manager simply maintains a system that has already been established and is in use. It is his duty to maintain control and ensure that things run normally and everyone in the staff is pulling their weight and contributing fully and effectively. One of the distinguishing characteristics of a typical manager is how dependent he is on the activities of a variety of other people to perform his job effectively. (Kotter, 1983, p. 360). He is rigid and unable to be creative in carrying out his duties, thereby barring him from being considered a business leader.

According to Richard Rosenberg, (1992) one of the most profound examples of the difference between leaders and managers is how computers create significant changes in any organization. He illustrates how information is able to travel from top to bottom effectively without the intervention of managers somewhere in between. This shows how the difference between leaders and managers which is that managers are easily replaceable and in some cases they are not required at all to some extent. Leaders inspire greatness and effectiveness unlike managers who more or less rely on control.

In other words, leadership is not what one does but actually how they respond to you. If people do not choose to join your cause then you cannot really be considered as a leader since they have inspired no one. If people do indeed join your cause then it would mean that you have inspired them, thereby creating a bond with them and the company, which is very important particularly if the organization or business is changing rapidly and needs people who believe in it to support its mission.

Leaders and managers handle and prepare for problems in a different ways. Managers prepare themselves for turbulent times and during these times the primary task is to make sure that the organization’s capacity to survive and to ensure that the it maintains its structural strength as well as is capacity to survive failure and adapt as quickly as possible in the shortest time period (Peter D., 1980). Business leaders instill a staff loyalty that a manager cannot be able to because of his rigid methods and lack of spontaneity. In the case of managers, their primary job is to control their staff by aiding them to develop their assets and discover their greatest talents.

In order to do this they have to know the people working for them and understand their abilities and interests. G. Lumsden (1982) describes how middle managers model themselves on top managers in a form of hierarchical mimicry: what happens is that the behavior inheritance persists. As it is passed down deeper in the organization, sans power, such behavior begins not to work so well. And at lower levels it gets muddied even further because it’s being used on individuals who don’t understand it, aren’t impressed by it, or are downright opposed to it. (p. 8)

A leader focuses on the reasons why to make certain decision whereas a manager considers how and at what times decisions are made. Managers prefer to execute plans accordingly and maintain the status quo without deviating even when failures are experienced. If the company experienced failures, then a leader would learn from it and use it as a clarification point in order to get better and avoid losses in future. Levine and M. Crom (1993) in their book “The leader in you” highlight an example of leadership changes and state that “Good human relation skills have the ability to transform people from managing others to leading them.

People can learn how to move from directing to guiding, from competing to collaborating and from operating under secrecy to one of sharing all of the information required, from a mode of passivity to a mode of risk taking, from one of regarding people as an expense to one of viewing people as an asset,” (P.15)

In conclusion, management and leadership are not necessarily mutually exclusive. They are however different in that leadership entails inspiration as well as steering an organization whereas management is simply overseeing and delegating.


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