Does the fact that both leaders and upper managers are involved in the ‘leadership team’, does it mean that all of them are ‘leaders’? Actually, there are some differences between ‘leaders’ and ‘managers’. And this essay aims at discussing these differences between ‘leadership’ and ‘management’. First of all, it is necessary to mention that both leaders and managers practice the main management functions – (1) planning for the organization, (2) organizing, (3) directing (or leading) employees or followers, and (4) controlling- but the difference depends on the share in each function.
For example leadership may have the biggest share in the planning and directing functions; while, management may have the biggest share in the organizing and controlling functions . This doesn’t only mean that there are distinctive differences between them; but also means that they have many things in common. In order to realize main differences between managers and leaders, a simple example will be discussed. The left and right brain theory could be a perfect example to show the different thinking between a leader and a manager.
The leader (or the right brain person) looks at the big picture as a whole then moves to details, while the manager (or the left brain person) analyze information and think about details to put them together. The healthy person should make the balance between both ways of thinking according to different situations. And that’s exactly the way in organizations; the successful leader also should make the balance between both ways of thinking.
So, the ‘way or type of thinking’ could be the first difference between leaders and managers. However, what does this mean to the organization? In another word, what is the impact of these different ways of thinking on their organizations? Thinking is a major factor to make the required change. When the leader looks at the big picture, he –then- could have the vision upon which he will set the strategic goals for his organization. However, this in not enough for the organization; these strategic goals should be achieved.
Then, it is time to manage, or in another word, to make action plans, setting budgets, selecting and specifying performance measurements to follow up and control the performance. Based on these different ways of thinking (or different outlooks), the main difference between both leaders and managers could be the ‘magnitude of change’ they provide to their organizations. Having the vision and setting goals drives more changes than with putting action plans for example.
Especially, with the dynamic global environment, the most important is to do the right things and it is not enough to manage just to make things right. Leaders then set the change and influence their followers and communicate with them to set expectations and manage the change; on the other side, managers adapt themselves to this change and influence their followers to achieve it. The next difference could be concerned with the ‘type of the relationship’ between them and their followers. Leadership is more about motivation more than controlling.
Leaders should adopt a communication policy by which they inspire their followers to be aware of the required change and to motivate them to achieve this change. For example -according to Maccoby (2000)- “selecting talent, motivating people, coaching, and building trust” are four things that leaders could do to have successful teams and organizations” (p. 58) While managers’ role is more concerned with control to assure the achievement of this change, or as Granger (2008) mentioned, “management is about setting up systems and procedures, controlling these systems and procedures”.
This could be due to the fact that they rely on the inspiration and motivation provided by leaders, and this is what Granger (2008) assured- “management is the organization’s way of coping with the fact that leadership is always in the clouds”. Now, after realizing differences between leadership and management; it is obvious that being a manager doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is a leader. However, is it possible that a person could be a leader and manager at the same time? The answer is that the reality tells that a manager could be a leader and a leader could be a manager at the same time.
Upper managers or CEOs and CTOs specifically could be perfect examples to show how a manager can be a leader at the same time. CEOs or CTOs participate in making the strategy (or specifically strategic plans) and set goals then they put the action plans to achieve these goals and other necessary elements of the plan such as budget and performance measurements. This example of upper managers who are also leaders could reflect the fact that leaders couldn’t be the sole driver of the organization anymore.
The increased competition and the rapid change are the main features of our new reality. The global dynamic environment forced organizations to adopt new concepts which caused a management revolution. Innovation management, dynamic management, and collaborative management are three concepts that support innovation by involving upper managers into what is called the leadership team to have an effective strategy that enables the organization to effectively compete. There are other necessary questions that need to be answered. Are leadership and management separated?
Is leadership solely or management solely enough for the organization? The answer is that both ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ integrate and support each other. ‘Leadership’ provides the vision, goals and directions, inspiration, and motivation and ‘management’ assures the accomplishment of these goals and controls the performance. Without, leadership the organization will have no vision and will be like a straw in the wind; while without management, leaders couldn’t make sure that their goals will be actually and effectively achieved.
The main challenge for organizations is to make the balance between both of them according to different situations.
References Granger, M. (2008, March 27). The Difference between Leadership and Management. BestManagementArticles. com. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from http://leadership. bestmanagementarticles. com/a-16317-the-difference-between-leadership-and-management. aspx Maccoby, M. (2000). Understanding the Difference between Management and Leadership. Research Technology Management, 43(1), 57-59. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from http://www. maccoby. com/Articles/UtDBMaL. shtml
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