Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Manager versus a Leader
[This write up focuses on the true roles of a manager and leader and at the same time make a fine distinction between the two, putting the leader on a higher pedestal.]

A young manager asked, “I have been reading all about leadership, have implemented several ideas, and think I am doing a good job at leading my team. How will I know when I have crossed over from being a manager to a leader?”  Thus, there is always a line of distinction between the two terms manager and leader. In fact, one is mistaken to be the other sometimes.  We point out below a few subtle differences between the two concepts which help us to place a leader in a clear positive frame unlike a manager who plays a somewhat orthodox role.

In India, M.K. Gandhi inspired millions of people to fight for their rights, and he walked shoulder to shoulder with them so India could achieve independence in 1947. His vision became everyone’s dream and ensured that the country’s push for independence was unstoppable. The world needs leaders like him who can think beyond problems, have a vision, and inspire people to convert challenges into opportunities, a step at a time.

Distinction between a Manager & a Leader

A Manager has a short-range perspective
A Leader has a long-range perspective
Plans when and how
Asks What and Why
Eyes the bottom line
Eyes the horizon
Imitates others
Accepts the status quo
Challenges the status quo
Does things correctly
Does the correct thing
Seeks continuity
Seeks change
Focuses on goals for improvement
Focuses on goals of innovation.
Bases power on position or authority
Bases power on personal influence
Demonstrates skill in technical competence
Demonstrates skill in selling the vision.
Demonstrates skill in administration
Demonstrates skill in dealing with ambiguity
Demonstrates skill in supervision.
Demonstrates skill in persuasion.
Works toward employee compliance
Works toward employee commitment
Plans tactics
Plans strategy
Sets standard operating procedures
Lays down policy
Relies on analytical decision-making style
Relies on intuitive decision-making style
Risk cautious
Takes necessary risks
Uses transactional communication style
Uses transformational communication style
Builds success through maintenance of quality
Builds success through employee commitment
Does not want to experience anarchy
Does not want to experience inertia
Plans, budgets, and designs detailed steps
Develops vision & strategies to achieve them
Sets standards of performance
Sets standards of excellence
Develops the detailed plan to achieve results
Develops future direction by observing trends
Counts value
Creates value
Have subordinates and create circles of power
Have followers and create circles of influence
Take credit
Take responsibility
Are focussed
Create shared focus

Great managers attend to continuous process improvement, monitor progress against objectives, and track and report the data that allows for solid fact-based decisions. Thus, every person in every role has management responsibility — the requirement to ensure that others can rely on them and their teams to deliver as promised within the parameters agreed.
For an organization to achieve strong results, both leadership and management need to be present. Management allows for leadership, and leadership invites development as people stretch toward the new vision and its inherent possibilities.
In most large organizations, individuals who master the management responsibilities in a given role are seen as promising candidates for the next level, especially if they begin to offer ideas and strategic suggestions beyond their area of responsibility, or if they do outstanding work on a special cross-functional task force.

1)     Henry Griner, Managers serve the company and Leaders serve team members, 2013.
2)     Linda Linfield, Talent Assessment, 2013

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