A good manager and a good leader

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A good manager and a good leader

What is more important, a good manager or a good leader? Discuss There are a lot of issues that are linked with managing oneself when trying to build work based relationship and engage positively in the organizational decision making procedure. The business sector in today’s society is cumulatively rapid, and with this prompt increase comes the need for more people to manage and lead the growing establishments, but this growing need also raises some potential questions: Can anyone become a leader or a manager? Is there a difference between the two? Can people be trained to become leaders or a managers? Just like many other questions that might be asked in business; these questions have no one, definite answer. I will begin first by acknowledging the definitions of the two root words; the word manage according to the “oxford online dictionary” means “Be in charge of (business, organization or undertaking, and having the position of supervising staff at work. While the word lead simply means to go or guide. Similarly as the two words have different meanings or definitions, they also have different purposes. To help individuals increase their capabilities in business, an internationally recognized motivational speaker by the name of “Marc Sanborn” has developed certain theories that, “much like in science or art, prove some things to be more true than others by providing supporting facts to prove the legitimacy of certain ways of thinking”.

Most of his theories authenticate the fact that in general, “good managers tend to be good leaders, but good leaders are not always good managers”. It is stated by (Rodenberg, 2007, p. 14), Any company that cannot imagine the future will not be around to enjoy it. Therefore, before any manager or leader can affect changes in their business they have to do what “Marc Sanborn” describes as visioning; they must mentally look into what they want to see as the potential outcome of any given situation. Managers are concerned with the problem at hand; they focus on what has to be done. Leaders on the other hand, notice what has to be done, but spend their time figuring out how to get it done. To be an effective leader it is important to focus on the determined details of a situation, look for opportunities and how to achieve them. Visioning cannot be taught but can be developed (Maser, 1998, p. 10). It is important for both manager and leader to start from the end and works backwards, or thinks to themselves “what will this team accomplish because of me?

“Leadership is all about taking an organization to a place it would not have otherwise gone without you, in a value-adding, quantifiable way. When you vision, you think your way into a situation and it is the approach in visioning that separates managers from leaders. Visioning however is not the only method that separates managers from leaders. (Buckingham, 2008, p. 3). The different strategies used by managers and leaders in terms of their use of human resources can also differentiate the major factors that influence each position. Managers are required to monitor, supervise, and get tasks done in a certain amount of time. Managers have to be efficient, and thus time is the most important human resource for them. By improving their efficiency, managers can improve their managerial success. Leaders, on the other hand, must strategically use not only their time, but energy as well. Therefore, leaders should use their energy efficiently because there is only a certain amount of tasks that can be done in one day. By using these resources strategically, leaders can also efficiently use the time and energy of others. According to (Stephen R. Covey, 1995, p. 27)

“Managers try to put more time into life, while leaders try to put more life into their time”. Leaders must carefully plan out strategies they will use to accomplish given tasks because strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite; it is the starting point. Understanding that managers and leaders have different strategic approaches in developing their human resources shows that it is the approach that separates one from the other. It is evident that by visioning the appropriate outcome and by using our human resources purposefully we can reach our goals efficiently. However, what good are the two if you are not focused on the right thing? The concept of focus is what “Stephen R. Covey” portrays as one of the most powerful factors in succeeding. To help us understand just how powerful the concept of focus can be, just like the “bird feeder story”, in which the squirrels were the victors in their attempt to eat from a feeder intended for the birds.

The man that made the birdfeeder was unable to repel the squirrels from reaching the feeder simply because the squirrels were much more focused on achieving their goal than he was. (Perkins, 2012, p. 123) Similarly, if managers and leaders focus intentionally on any problem, their outcome will always abound over their competitors simply because more effort was put into the task at hand. As Marc Sanborn stated, “In the corporate world it is not intelligence which is the deciding factor in who succeeds, it is how focused one is that makes all the difference. As mentioned by (Perry MCINTOSH, 2010, p. 45), time is the most valuable resource for managers because they must be efficient and be able to make a wisely use of it. Therefore, it can be said that the managers are focused on time. The prime focus in a managerial position is the speed at which tasks are completed. Leaders conversely are and should be more focused on being effective, that is their intentions are on doing the right thing. Marc also stressed out an example of two people who were trying to reach a destination. They were going at great speed and making good time, but they were going the wrong way. It is evident by now that there is indeed a great difference between managers and leaders and it is ultimately the approach taken upon certain methods that is the determinant of your leadership role. (Schermerhorn, 2011, p. 259)

Explains that managerial power is positional power being the manager, “This power includes remunerations, force, and acceptability”. It is power over people whereas leadership is supportive power, and it is power with people. Whether you vision the destination, or the transportation there, whether you try to be efficient or effective, and whether you focus on the speed or the path all come into play as your leadership quality level. These qualities can be improved and developed if they are all focused on the right things. That is why good managers tend to be good leaders, because they can focus on getting tasks done proficiently and also do it right at the same time. (Swansburg, 1996, p. 435) Managers are good disciplinarians; they are able to manage certain objectives while being efficient. Many people tend to think that management and leadership are related. Good managers are not always good leaders. Managers usually can implement their management responsibilities successfully but not show that they are great leaders as well. According to (Sims, 2002, p. 390), “an organization’s obligations for management and leadership will change as the elements affecting the organization change.

Because leaders are important change agents, they play important roles when the external environment is changing fast as is the case with the new economy; and an organization has diminutive need for a strong change agent if little is changing around it”. To be able to lead proficiently will allow a successful person or leader to stand out from the average ones. A manager transacts with the everyday errands of the organization such as planning, organizing, and controlling but when you are a great leader you are able to make effective changes inside the workplace. As stated by (Al Maktoum, 2006, p. 214), leading comprises of setting a pattern, direction and also generating a visual of the goals that must be met. Management involves establishing the structure of the company, hiring good people who are competent enough to complete the work at the right time, and also supervising events and activities. Leadership keeps employees inspired to overcome obstacles and focus on building the organization towards its potential future. The typical manager tends to focus on the daily activities and short-term profits.

They usually do things as they come along. This is fine if your goal is just to manage, but if you are looking advance and reach long-term goals then you must focus on being a leader to your assistants (Roger B. Winston, 2013, p. 45), to be a great leader and manager you cannot have one without the other. Managers must implement their tasks or else the organization can become ineffective and unorganized. Leadership on the other hand involves special processes that are distinguishable from basic management processes. Therefore, if one manager can master both roles effectively this can result in success. However good leaders are more supportive and creative and might sometimes lack the disciplinary quality of getting the right thing done as efficiently as possible. For the most part, there is a very fine line between good managers and good leaders, but good leaders just aren’t and do not want to be, managers.


Al Maktoum, H. S. (2006). My Vision: CHALLENGES IN THE RACE OF EXCELLENCE. Motivate Publishing, 2006. Buckingham, m. (2008). The one thing you need to know: About Great Managing,,,,, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success. Maser, C. (1998). Vision and leadership in sustainable development: Volume 6 of sustainable community development . CRC PRESS, 1998. Perkins, D. (2012). Delightful stories from the heart of maine. WestBow Press. Perry MCINTOSH, a. R. (2010). Becoming a Manager. AMACOM Div American Mgnmt Assn, 2010. Rodenberg, J. H. (2007). Competitive Intelligence and senior Management: “The best solution to where to place the office of competitive intelligence is on a par with functions that report directlt to the board”. Roger B. Winston, D. G. (2013). The professional student Affairs administrator: Educator, Leader and manager. Routledge publisher, 2013. Schermerhorn, J. R. (2011). Exploring Management. John Wiley & Sons,
2011. Sims, R. R. (2002). Managing organizational behebior. Greenwood publishing Group. Stephen R. Covey, A. R. (1995). First Things First,,,, “Fireside Book”. Simon and Schuster, 1995. Swansburg, R. C. (1996). Management and Leadership for Nurse Managers. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 1996.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 8 May 2016

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