Exploring the Differences and Similarities Between a Manager and a Leader

Topics: Management, Leadership, Goal Pages: 5 (1508 words) Published: February 4, 2012
2.Differences between leadership and management
2.1 Managers maintain things and leaders change things
Studies on the subjects of leadership and management have the underlying difference between a leader and a manager as “managers maintain things and leaders change things.” Gill (2006:26) explains their difference as “Managers plan, allocate resources, administer and control whereas leaders innovate, communicate and motivate” Weathersby (Management Review Vol 88:3) summarises the contrast between leadership and management as: Management is the allocation of scarce resources against an organization's objective, the setting of priorities, the design of work and the achievement of results. Most important, it's about controlling. Leadership, on the other hand, focuses on the creation of a common vision. It means motivating people to contribute to the vision and encouraging them to align their self-interest with that of the organization. It means persuading, not commanding From these distinctions, management is therefore associated with tasks, targets, policies, adherence to procedures and administration whereas leadership is associated with vision, inspiration and change. Management displays a form of mould that individuals confine themselves to, to achieve the laid out goals of an organisation. To a certain extent it creates a monotonous environment which results in lethargy killing innovation. Leadership on the other hand demonstrates diversity and continuous change which motivates people to change their behaviour in a quest to achieve a desired goal. It does not give a laid out formula on how the goal is to be achieved but leaves room for ingenuity to accomplishing the goals.

2.6Leaders are visionaries, managers administer someone’s vision. The key difference between leadership and management is vision as noted by Deetz et al (2000:49). The leader clearly sees in his mind the way they want things to be and they articulate this mental picture to followers in a way that the followers can visualise this picture and use their strengths, capabilities and talent in pursuit of the manifestation of this picture. This creates a sense of purpose in the followers which in turn creates energy from within which drives followers to the destiny. Managers maintain structures and develop regulations which administer and give direction on how the set vision and mission of an organisation is to be fulfilled.

2.7Leaders empower their followers, managers control their subordinates Leadership is a process centred on a relationship whereas management involves coordinating activities that reflect the organisation’s purpose as Gill (2006:61) states. The relationship lies in developing people, that is, empowering them so that they can implement the vision that the leader has. Building a lasting legacy involves empowering people and that is what renowned leaders are admired for. In all their pursuits the core worth of their works is that they empowered a people. Nelson Mandela is an iconic leader because he has persistently sought the empowerment of the people of South Africa; Mahatma Ghandi’s legacy lives on because he pursued the empowerment of the people of India. Mother Theresa is a symbol of true leadership because she passionately lived her life empowering the outcasts of the society. Gill (2006:216) summarises empowerment as Giving people the knowledge, skills, self-awareness, authority, freedom, resources and opportunity to lead themselves. Empowerment therefore creates an environment that nurtures initiative, creativity, innovation as well as responsibility. Individuals realise their full potentials in such an atmosphere and therefore live their lives to the fullest with zeal as they have a sense of worth and purpose in their hearts. Consequently, an organisation’s performance is enhanced and its vision accomplished once the people have a purpose driven life. Argyris reports one CEO as saying “No vision, no strategy can be...

Bibliography: Gill, R. 2006. Theory and practise of leadership. London: Sage.
Gillen,T. 2002. Leadership skills for boosting performance. Wiltshire: Cromwell Press.
Maxwell, J.C. 1993. Developing the leader within you. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
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