Managers are not Leaders ?

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Lack of leadership being one of the main obstacles of organizations, governments, and families in the 21st century, I wanted to get to the root of the problem. Hence, I decided to define Leadership within organizations,  and in order for me to do that I wanted to define management and the differentiation a lot of people in the business world state between leadership and management, as I always had a problem with “Manager but not a leader” theory?

A streamlined definition was that a manager’s job is to plan, organize, and coordinate. On the other hand a leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. In an economy where value comes from the knowledge of the people how can you expect workers to be influenced and coordinated  from a manger that does not inspire or motivate them to become part of an efficient organization? On the same token, a leader that is just there to inspire and motivate while not practical when it comes to the day to day activities of your job functions sounds like a cheer leader or motivator.

People look to their managers from a holistic perspective, to define their purpose in the organization and in turn assign them tasks. On the other hand a manager in today’s world should be assigned with the duty of developing individuals within their team to release their true talent in a funneled method that gives a team the best advantage. In order for a team to gain the best advantage from that individual, the manager must recognize what is best for that individual. Yes what is best for the individual’s development!!! If the job function the individual plays in your team is not best for his/her development; then they are either on the wrong team or doing the wrong function.

The late management guru Peter Drucker was one of the first to recognize this truth, when he stated  “One does NOT manage people. The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of each individual”

I don’t believe it is a matter, of weather the manager is more important than the leader or vice versa, but I believe the problem is in the differentiation between both of them. When differentiation occurs it labels a manager as a more practical individual and a leader as a dreamer. For example a lot of organizations managers focus on process, facts, intellect, position power, control, problem solving, reactive, rules, goals, and standardization. Under the theory that managers and a leader are different; leaders focus on people, feelings, emotional, heart , persuasion power, commitment, possibility thinking, proactive, values, vision,  and innovation. Which in itself is the main reason for a lack of leaders in our organizations today, managers can’t achieve efficient processes without focusing on the people, a manager can’t have true positional power without the power of persuasion, and a manger can’t achieve sustainable innovation without standardization.

It is true that some managing leaders are more detailed oriented and some are visionaries, but every organization needs a diversified management team. It is the role of management leadership to place them in the place that is best for their development; in order to develop their lack of either leadership or managerial qualities as both are inseparable.

Do you believe there is a difference between managers and leadership? What benefits or problems do organizations face today with the differentiation between managers and leaders?

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  • Serge Gerrard

    I agree with all of the above but wish to reduce it to manageable basics to get to the heart of where managers nowadays fail because it is so easy to remedy and to train them to be vigilant about some basic issues .
    A competent manager and leader  must know and be aware of his work and that of his staff as well as their capacities to do it . He ought to have the foresight to anticipate the difficulties each member of his team will encounter with certain tasks and should make them aware of his availability to help and supervise . I am very tough on those managers who do not do that and are sufficiently insensitive to pile work on and overburden staff with unrealistic demands on ability or time.
    In the end , the acceptance of somebody’s leadership comes down to trust and belief in his integrity before evolving to other wonderful things like vision and works of genius once the basics are looked after.