What Are the Differences Between a Leader and a Manager?

What Are the Differences Between a Leader and a Manager?
Category: Management/Leadership
Posted: 02-18-2011 20:09
Views: 578
Comments: 0 [Post]
Synopsis:

The famous futurist Joel Barker says, "A Leader is someone you would follow to a place you would not go by yourself." Being a leader doesn't necessarily mean that you have been given the title of manager or supervisor. Leaders are people who look to the future and inspire people to follow them. They can come from any part of an organization as long as they innovate, embrace change and look to the future. Yet, people and organizations tend to group the titles manager and leader as if they were one and the same. There are several important differences between a leader and a manager. Manager and supervisors need to recognize the difference between the titles and embrace both roles.  Leadership training on this topic is crucial.


The famous futurist Joel Barker says, "A Leader is someone you would follow to a place you would not go by yourself." Being a leader doesn't necessarily mean that you have been given the title of manager or supervisor. Leaders are people who look to the future and inspire people to follow them. They can come from any part of an organization as long as they innovate, embrace change and look to the future. Yet, people and organizations tend to group the titles manager and leader as if they were one and the same. There are several important differences between a leader and a manager. Manager and supervisors need to recognize the difference between the titles and embrace both roles.  Leadership training on this topic is crucial.

A manager first and foremost is an administrator. The focus of the manager is on day-to-day activities that run his business or department. The leader is focused on the innovation. A Leader is constantly looking for ways to innovate in his department and company wide. Her eyes are always open to new ideas. A leader does not accept the current paradigm, but looks for ways to recognize a paradigm shift.

A manager by nature has a short range view. The everyday tasks of running an organization keep a manager running around putting out fires and trying to survive the day. Day after day, week after week, his time is constantly filled. A leader finds time to look to the future. If there is no focus on the future, then the present will eventually mean nothing. Unless an organization knows where it is going then steering the ship in the present is an exercise in futility. It might as well be in an ocean thick with fog without a compass.

A manager avoids change because change disrupts the administration of her company or business. It takes away from her constant attempt to efficiently run the department or organization. A leader embraces change and realizes that change is norm and that if you aren't changing then you are dying. A leader looks for ways to shake things up and try new ideas. Her eyes are always open to shifting paradigms.

Organizations need both managers and leaders. They need managers to efficiently run the organization with the paradigm and they need to leaders to challenge the paradigm, embrace change and innovate. Ideally, managers will embrace both roles. While an eye on the present is essential, an eye on the future determines ultimate fate of our organization.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of management training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is a distributor of training videos like Celebrate What's Right with the World and The Business of Paradigms.


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