Social Differences in Management vs Leadership

Is there a difference between being a leader and being a manager? The answer to this question is – yes- indeed there is clearly a difference. A friend of mine once said, “you show me someone who can get a group of unpaid volunteers to work together and accomplish something great- there you will find a leader.” Let’s take a closer look at both management and leadership.

Management is based on the “process”, in that it focuses on maintaining systems to provide goods and services efficiently. For example, management tasks include planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, and controlling progress towards achieving firmly defined objectives. The elements of management therefore create predictability in anticipating future developments and assessing on-going operations.

Leadership, on the other hand, is prospective: it defines what the future should look like, aligns the organization with a common vision, and provides inspiration to achieve transformational goals. Yet despite their very different functions and attributes, leadership and management are not separate but complementary as both sets of skills are required for organizations to be successful.

Here are some other ways to look at the differences between managers and leaders.

> A manager takes care of where you are; a leader takes you to a new place.
> A manager deals with complexity; a leader deals with uncertainty.
> A manager is concerned with finding the facts; a leader makes decisions.
> A manager is concerned with doing things right; a leader is concerned with doing the right things.
> A manager’s critical concern is efficiency; a leader focuses on effectiveness.
> A manager creates policies; a leader establishes principles.
> A manager sees and hears what is going on; a leader hears when there is no sound and sees when there is no light.

What are your thoughts? How do you define leadership? Management? What is more important leadership or management?

Ryan T. Sauers

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