Differences between Managers and Leaders

Leadership and management have many similarities. They are always closely associated and necessarily linked to achieve goals in the commerce world. However, they are not the same thing. There are many differences between them, and it is necessary to separate this two concepts.

Firstly, it is necessary to consider the definitions of these two concepts in order to notice the difference between them. Leadership is “an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes and reflect their shared purposes” (Daft & Lane, 2008, p. 4). Management is “the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, efficiently accomplish selected aims” (Koontz & Weihrich, 2008, p. 5). Due to this, one can state that manager and leader perform different functions.

The functions of leaders are the following: to inspire, decide, utilize staff work, focus on concepts, look outward, delegate, represent entire institution/ unit/ agency, see the whole, and operate in internal and external politics. The functions of managers are to direct, recommend, provide staff work, focus on details, look inward, oversee, represent separate organizational functions, see the parts of the whole, and operate in internal politics (Bertocci, 2009, p.10).  Kotter indicates such functions of managers and leaders: “Whereas management is about complexity in personal issues, organizational design and structure, budget preparation and execution, staffing, control of input and output, and numerous Human Resources issues, leadership is about vision, big picture issues, change and the future” (Kotter, 1999, p. 103). Considering these functions, one can conclude that leader works in global scope, while manager focuses on the details of their work. It also proves that leader and manager complement each other in achieving goals. Dr. David Kozak states: “Successful organizations need both management and leadership, although it is commonly accepted that managers deal with systems, processes, budgets, equipment, and “things”, while leaders deal with visions and people” (Kozak, 1998). If to consider the main professional qualities of managers and leaders, one can notice next differences.  Leader is goal-oriented, thoughtful, results-oriented, effective, long-term planner, policy-oriented, mission-oriented, and process-oriented, while managers are task-oriented, industrious, action-oriented, efficient, short-term planner, implementation-oriented, program-oriented, and product-oriented (Betrocci, 2009). It shows that the main objective of leader is to organize and inspire others to perform global task, while the goal of manager is to perform some separate tasks.

However, one of the major differences between managers and leaders lies not in their functions or qualities but in their followers. Followers are free to choose whether to follow the leader or not.  Leadership can be effective only when a leader influences followers, and they willingly accept his request without any exertion of power. Due to this ability to influence, leader creates and uses the power and authority that are received from the followers. On the management side in typical hierarchical organization structure, the manager directs, instructs, or commands. Because of it, employees do not necessarily have the same freedom as leader’s followers. In addition, manager’s followers are not free to choose whether to follow the manager or not due to the risk of losing their jobs. The differences between followers result in effectiveness of work. Followers who are empowered to complete a specific task tend to be more effective and efficient than followers who simply fulfill a task under direct and close supervision.

To sum up, not taking into considerations all similarities between managers and leaders, there are many differences between them. The first thing that separates them is the specific functions which each of them performs. However, the crux of the matter is in difference between followers and effectiveness of their work. Despite all these differences, successful company has to have both managers and leaders.

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