How Are The Functional Attributes Leader Vs Manager


Leader Vs Manager

1. Introduction

According to Susan Ward, leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal [1] . In other words, leadership is the leader's influence towards others in order to make them to cooperate willingly and fully achieve their desired goals. Furthermore, a leader is someone who has not only the ability and influence but the character and skills that make others want to follow them. A leader's purpose is to persuade people to focus all their energy with the aim of creating value and help to those who need to improve and excel and those who are already in a position of prestige to improve. Leaders could create a working environment in which their partners accomplish high performance with fulfillment. The performance in combination with satisfaction is the most important factor which leads to sustainable corporate growth.

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Years ago, the words: "management", "leadership" and "administration" were identical. However, nowadays scientists have obviously realised certain differences concerning not only leaders and managers behaviour but thinking too. Regarding this, some people argue that the main difference between leadership and management is the fact that management is taught while leadership is a talent and is supported from humans' personality. Consequently, these two words are connected correspondingly with the theory X and Y of McGregor (1960). So, the manager could be characterised by theory X, while the leader has the characteristics of theory Y.

Therefore, these three words operate like a complement, not only complementing but completing each other as none of them reproduce by themselves without the present of the other two. The shape below shows the relationships between the three words as Pashiardes (2004) presents.

In order to clarify the meaning of management and leadership, the definition as stated below, as Kinicki and Kreitner (2009) define it.

"Management is the process of working with and through others to achieve objectives in an efficient and ethical manner."

"Leadership is defined as a social influence process in which the leader seeks the voluntary participation of subordinates in an effort to reach organizational goals."

Vadim Kotelnikov [2] tried also to interpret these two words and said characteristically that leadership, by taking risks creates opportunities while management strictness turns them into tangible results. Finally, as a proverb says: "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing". This means that managers follow business's structure, policies and rules and implement books guidelines in contrast with leaders who follow their own instinct.

2. What is the difference between a manager and a leader?

Undoubtedly, this question has been asked and answered not a few times, from different people in different ways. However, have you really wondered what the ingredients are that distinguish and differentiate one from the other? The answer is not so simple. Generally, managers and leaders have diverse traits and different ways to motivate people, so they can follow orders and act according to their guidelines. Despite their differences both are very important and essential in an organization, as well, as society.

2.1. Manager

In the first place, the managers are very educated and experienced people. They focus on specific goals, which are based on necessity and adopt the appropriate attitude in order to achieve them. Besides, working hard and being absolutely informed about issues related to their job, they are very intelligent and have analytical skills. They respect the system and follow the laws and the procedures. They give clear and detailed directions to their employees, while they set limits in order to avoid initiatives and divergences from their opinion.

Furthermore, they manage to cleverly use the process of resource allocation as a way to earn the maximum benefits from them. They could be characterised as a problem solver who usually asks how and when questions. Additionally, a manager always has in mind an imitated standard and a successful structure with basic steps and guidelines that will lead them to the desired goals and results.

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Another key characteristic to managers is that they want to have everything under control and always ensure that everything runs smoothly and expertly. They focus on everyday jobs and try to organise and manage people's tasks and activities. In case of conflicts, they undertake the role of negotiator in an attempt to find a common solution and resolve the problem. Nevertheless, they have low emotional involvement in relationships, due to the fact that they want to be fair-minded and unprejudiced. In addition, due to the pressure of work most times they are busy, without free time to discuss any issues with their employees. Hence, this full activity and complicated program isolates them from reality.

Apart from all the aforementioned, they set strategies and plans for the future by setting timetables and combining people and ideas in order to make decisions. In contrast with the leader, the manager is more averse to risk with short-range views, since they are used to accepting the status quo as it is.

2.2 Leader

"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and show the way", as John C. Maxwell said. A leader is the person who sets attractive goals and has the ability to inspire followers who share those goals. They have effective interaction with their colleagues due to their high levels of social and emotional intelligence and manage to predict all their needs and desires. Above all, as a leader they are trusted and respected, while they develop certain qualities and attributes.

After that, a brilliant leader has a vision and not only believes in it, but builds on it, in order to make it reality. They are passionate about their vision and that is the reason to strive and forget about everything else. More than anyone else, they distinguish from others by their persuasion skills. In addition, they characterise their intelligence and sharpness. They know exactly what they want and focus on it. At the same time, the fact that they know their strengths offers them the opportunity to take advantage and use them to the maximum.

It is also important to mention, that they are determined and do not hesitate to implement their thoughts. They are very simple people, who work hard and seek team work. Besides, they are very sociable and love having relationships. They respect their personnel and consider themselves as co-operator and friend of their colleagues. They recognise that they can not to do everything by themselves, so they ask for help and contribution from their colleagues in order to implement their vision. It is a necessity for the leader to have the advantage in order to inform the hierarchy of the organisation and have direct contact with the basis of the pyramid (employees).

In addition, leaders are always authentic and do not try to pretend to be someone else. They are people with integrity, patience and persistence - three very essential and helpful characteristics in an attempt to implement their vision. They also have the self awareness and realism about what is happening. They are open-minded and manage to predict future needs of the society. They are a step or steps ahead and their minds and thought are on the future. They are intuitive and insightful.

Another key feature of a leader as innovator is that they do not accept the status quo as it is, but they challenge and investigate it. As a character they can be unpredictable and use positive reinforcement as motivation in their work. They are open to feedback and willingly accept criticism about their acts. If something is done wrong, they have the self confidence to recognise and correct their mistakes. They encourage people to be innovative with ideas and initiatives.

Furthermore, leaders are very optimistic and that makes them more susceptible to risk taking and raising significant support for changes. In addition, they could be described as inventor and creator of new ideas and ways of thinking. They always ask what and why, as well as having the willingness to learn and improve their thoughts and tasks. Last but not least, regarding all the above they are a charismatic person who inspires emotions among followers and determine a vision which integrates and captures them.

3. How can we distinguish a leader from a manager?

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Many times people have confused the words "management" and "leadership", due to the fact that the management performance could be considered correspondingly as a leadership style, since the features of influence and interaction are dominated, in order to accomplish the team's goals. Nevertheless, others argue that if the leader adopts management performance style, then there is no inspiration or loyalty towards the team's goals, but merely positioning power.

According to Choleva (1997), leadership includes three important concepts, "people", "influence capability" and "goals". There is no leader, if there is no group to lead. In case of leadership, there is the necessity to change people's behaviour and attitudes when it is requested from the environment or era requirements. Leadership has to do with innovation and improving. In contrast, management uses human and information resources to fulfill organisational purposes. In addition, managing and leading are various methods of managing people. The manager uses a formal, logical technique and process whilst the leader uses zeal and sentiment.

Furthermore, the manager has the ability to modulate people's behavior, due to their power of position. As well as being loyal to the company's values and policies. On the contrary, leaders could influence people's opinions and thoughts without formal authority. Leaders create clear and visible values, which incorporate in the organisations' strategies. These strategies in combination with their ideals and dreams hope to bring together the people.

In conclusion, as Stephen Covey said: "Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall".