Thursday, October 15, 2009

Personal Musings: Difference between Leaders and Managers

The literature on these two aspects of leading and managing are wide, varied and in some instances unclear as to its delineation.

Leaders are visionary; they have a clear picture of how they see the future and the true measure of a leader is to be able to articulate this vision in simple and understandable short statements. It ought to be done in a manner that would enlighten their followers and enable these followers to make the vision a reality.

Leaders are risk takers; this attribute becomes evident when leaders promote risk taking and experimentation within the organization. They encourage their followers to move forward despite small failures and they inspire their followers to reverse those failures into successes.

Managers, on the other hand, operationalize the vision. They tend to focus on creating and/or fine-tuning the processes for efficiency. They mostly create the rules and regulations and ensure that the employees adhere to these. They manage problems and not necessarily solve problems. Their decision making process is limited in scope; they tend to be within the realm of the rules and regulations created from the policies presented to them.

Managers ensure that the tasks are performed to meet the deadlines with the appropriate outcomes for success. They ought to be able to trouble shoot any discrepancies and ultimately remove these discrepancies for smooth operation. Managers work in close cooperation with the leaders. At times they are able to pinpoint flaws in a leader’s vision; they are able to highlight certain aspects of a vision that are not easily implementable. Hence it is important that managers collegially work in conjunction with their leaders.

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