The Difference in Outlook for Managers and Leaders

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By Anthony Davis

During my vast study of managers and leaders within different organizations, I have discovered that they play very different roles. Often the lines of effective management and effective leadership get blurred. Though there is in fact some overlap between the two roles, they actually draw on different, and sometimes contradictory, qualities. Here is how management and leadership styles differ across several categories such as personality, goals, strategy, qualifications and experience, and relationship to employees.

When it comes to personality, managers tend to seek comfort and stability both in their personal and professional lives. They are generally adverse to risk and prefer to preserve the status quo. Finally, those who do well in a management position tend to be detailed-oriented and good at things that require organization. Leaders, on the other hand, are quite comfortable with significant amounts of risk and change as long as it helps them pursue their goals. They also naturally embrace the difficulties and challenges that they must overcome in order to achieve these goals. Finally, those who excel in leadership positions tend to be charismatic free-thinkers who are more comfortable thinking outside of the box instead of in it.

The goals of managers and leaders are different within an organization. The goal of an effective manager is to maximize production within the current system of an organization through careful organizing, planning, and controlling. In other words, managers are trying to get the job at hand done. The goal of an effective leader is to work on a system instead of in it. They are not just concerned with getting the job done, they seek to enhance the whole process in a way that will benefit both the employees and the company as a whole.

As far as experience and qualifications are concerned, management ranks are filled with people who have slowly worked...
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