A successful executive need to be both a strong leader and manager to get their team on board to follow them towards their vision of success. As we all know, everyone who is a great leader isn’t necessarily a great manager. And great managers aren’t necessarily great leaders.
There are important distinctions between managing and leading people. Leadership is about getting people to understand and believe in your vision and to work with you to achieve your goals while managing is more about administering and making sure the day-to-day things are happening as they should.
Are you both a leader and a manager; what would your staff say if you were to ask them?
A manager is the member of an organization with the responsibility of carrying out the four important functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. But are all managers leaders?
Most managers also tend to be leaders, but only IF they also adequately carry out the leadership responsibilities of management, which include communication, motivation, providing inspiration and guidance, and encouraging employees to rise to a higher level of productivity.
Unfortunately, not all managers are leaders. Some managers have poor leadership qualities, and employees follow orders from their managers because they are obligated to do so—not necessarily because they are influenced or inspired by the leader.
(Related: Dare to Lead: From Managers to Leaders)
Managerial duties are usually a formal part of a job description; subordinates follow as a result of the professional title or designation. A manager’s chief focus is to meet organizational goals and objectives; they typically do not take much else into consideration. Managers are held responsible for their actions, as well as for the actions of their subordinates. With the title comes the authority and the privilege to promote, hire, fire, discipline, or reward employees based on their performance and behavior.
The primary difference between management and leadership is that leaders don’t necessarily hold or occupy a management position. Simply put, a leader doesn’t have to be an authority figure in the organization; a leader can be anyone.
Unlike managers, leaders are followed because of their personality, behavior, and beliefs. A leader personally invests in tasks and projects and demonstrates a high level of passion for work. Leaders take a great deal of interest in the success of their followers, enabling them to reach their goals to satisfaction—these are not necessarily organizational goals.
There isn’t always tangible or formal power that a leader possesses over his followers. Temporary power is awarded to a leader and can be conditional based on the ability of the leader to continually inspire and motivate their followers.
Subordinates of a manager are required to obey orders while following is optional when it comes to leadership. Leadership works on inspiration and trust among employees; those who do wish to follow their leader may stop at any time. Generally, leaders are people who challenge the status quo. Leadership is change-savvy, visionary, agile, creative, and adaptive.
Managers and leaders are both important – and when you find both qualities in the same person, it’s like hitting a professional jackpot. Being a manager and a leader at the same time is a viable concept. But remember, just because someone is a phenomenal leader, it does not necessarily guarantee that the person will be an exceptional manager as well, and vice versa.