Leaders and managers perform almost similar roles interchangeably. Despite this reality, leaders and managers perform significantly distinct responsibilities as required by the firm they are working for. The major difference between the two is that leaders have voluntary followers while managers have subordinates. Consequently, followers of a leader are at liberty to follow directives or not while subordinates are expected to follow orders given by managers. While leadership is concerned with letting people understand and believe in a specific vision, managing is focused on administering the daily activities to ensure they are aligned with the vision and mission of the firm. Despite the differences, leaders and managers are both goal-oriented, highly motivated and have a high level of self-awareness. The role of managers and leaders has a synergistic effect on organizational performance. Consequently, successful businesses require the services of both effective leaders and managers who facilitate the functioning of the employees towards the achievement of the set goals and objectives.
Management and leadership entail the performance of different activities and functions. Despite the overlapping roles between managers and leaders, the two activities are synonymous. Leaders and managers are similar in that influence other people to achieve certain goals. Besides, their responsibilities are characterized by significant differences. While leaders motivate stakeholders and shareholders to collaborate to achieve the goals of a firm, managers distribute resources of the firm to various departments to facilitate the achievement of the firm’s objectives. In the current rapidly changing workplace, there is need for an effective interplay between leaders and managers to achieve the vision and mission of an organization.
Leadership and management
Management is an activity that focuses on designing, organizing, controlling and encouraging employees while offering the operational resources required to achieve the goals of a firm (Algahtani, 2014). A leader is focused on realizing the potential for him/herself and the employees. Managers focus on the daily completion of tasks by employees in the firm. They are involved in making work schedules, audits, time cards and other staff-related duties. On the contrary, there occurs a cycle of exchanges and growth between the leaders and the followers. Authentic leaders balance the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of their followers, build support teams and integrate their personal life into their work. While managers cope with the complexity of the firm, leadership is focused on coping with change since leaders have an inherent or learned ability to influence other people in the firm (Dike, Ken & Donatus, 2015).
Managers are oriented towards the tasks that need to be completed in the firm. They direct the different teams in the firm through their executive, administrative and supervisory positions (Algahtani, 2014). The responsibilities of the managers are usually task-oriented and involve developing employees, mentoring workers and resolving conflicts within the firm while maintaining ethics and discipline. Through the management, various objectives of the firm are achieved through efficient use of resources. Leaders, on the other hand, are people-oriented since they work towards building better performing teams within the firm. Leaders inspire and motivate their followers to reach long-term organizational goals. They also define a clear vision, take risks to help achieve the goals and challenge the current status quo in the organization. A leader corrects and directs his/her followers voluntarily (Dike, Ken & Donatus, 2015).
Managers are focused on formally directing and controlling employees, resources, systems and structures. The main objective of a manager is to achieve the short-term organizational goals, mitigate risks and develop standardization to promote improvement of efficiency in a firm (Algahtani, 2014). Leaders acknowledge the problems within the firm and develop new creative solutions that motivate and increase the focus of the employees towards the achievement of the company objectives. As such, leaders are great innovators and risk takers who instill similar values among their followers. As much as leaders take calculated risks, they also use strategies that mitigate the risks so that the organization is not negatively affected.
Managers are involved in coordinating and motivating employees, maintaining a safe working environment and fostering morale of employees within the firm to help increase productivity. As such, managers should have inner energy, drive and skills for coping with the daily challenges they face in their line of duty (Lunenburg, 2011). Besides, managers use the dictatorial, autocratic, transactional, authoritative, democratic and consultative styles. Leaders are facilitative; hence, they only oversee the activities happening in different departments and offer their input. They use the transformational, consultative and participative styles to enhance productivity within the firm.
While leaders assert their power through charisma and influence, managers use formal authority and their position within the firm. Besides, leaders have followers while managers have subordinates who take orders from them (Dike, Ken & Donatus, 2015). Effective managers have the technical, human and conceptual skills. Also, they have specific skills such as negotiation skills, delegation skills, communication skills and problem-solving skills. Some of the qualities essential in leadership include vision, integrity, risk-taking, creativity, commitment, communication and the ability to solve problems. Besides, effective leaders should have confidence, responsibility, honesty, realistic, expertise and good coaching skills. Organizations need both effective managers and leaders to function optimally and achieve stipulated objectives (Lunenburg, 2011).
Traits and characteristics
An effective leader and manager have a relatively high desire for achievement. They are inclined to achieve more challenging tasks, attain high standards of excellence and develop better ways of performing activities. Effective leaders and managers also work towards the success and improvement of the workplace (Kirkpatrick & Edwin, 1991). Besides, they are ambitious about their work and careers and have the desire to move forward. Ambitious leaders and managers set challenging goals in the short term and long term and work towards achieving them. Also, leaders have the tenacity to overcome the obstacles occurring at the organization level. They combine high perseverance levels with high degrees of strength to achieve the goals set by the firm.
Effective leaders and managers should also portray self-awareness, which is the ability to understand how one’s feelings affect him, his colleagues and job performance. Self-awareness also involves having an awareness of one’s values and goals. A leader with a high level of self-awareness clearly defines the vision and mission of the firm and guides followers into achieving the same (Goleman, 1998). Besides, leaders and managers have self-confidence and can openly talk about their strengths and weaknesses and encourage constructive criticism. Effective leaders and managers also portray self-regulation, which involves the ability to control one’s impulses and feelings. As such, they facilitate the development of an environment of trust and fairness. Self-regulation also increases the firm’s competitive advantage over others since they can implement strategies that aid the management of change and ambiguity in the firm.
In addition, effective managers and leaders are motivated to achieve beyond their expectations. As opposed to people who are motivated by extrinsic factors such as high compensation and positive feedback, leaders and managers are intrinsically motivated by a deeply embedded desire to achieve the best. Leaders who are highly motivated to achieve continuously improve their performance and that of employees (Goleman, 1998). Managers and leaders who are devoted to offering the best for a firm also track their progress and that of other workers in the firm to ensure the firm’s productivity remains high. Besides, effective leaders and managers are empathetic, a value that enables them to understand issues from the employee’s point of view. Empathy helps increase collaboration among team members and in retaining the best talents in the firm.
An assessment of my effectiveness in both managerial and leadership positions is informed by the realization that in most cases, leaders are self-made and they continuously work to help improve their management skills in their workplaces. I can perform well in a leadership or managerial position since I focus on my strengths and that of my colleagues. This is by being aware of my weaknesses and those of the group members, acknowledging them, identifying areas of great potential and growth and focusing on areas I have strengths in. Besides, I always develop the mission and vision of groups I am a member of, present them to team members, and emphasize the need to achieve them. Group missions and visions are imperative factors that enable the activities to be aligned with the future goals and objectives.
Also, I am self-motivated, an important value that defines leaders and managers. Being intrinsically motivated facilitates my input in a task hence achieving the desired outcome. This indicates that I perform my roles with energy and enthusiasm and consequently motivating team members to do the same. I have learnt that I am not strong in self-regulation and tenacity values. On self-regulation, I tend to get angry and jump to conclusions fast without evaluating the whole scenario. Concerning tenacity, obstacles tend to wear me down often such that it becomes difficult to concentrate on my roles.
One of the crucial factors to observe is that I have realized that leadership and management are two interconnected aspects with various similarities and differences. I have also learnt that leadership and management are essential aspects that facilitate the success of a firm. It is evident that managers and leaders need to have, acquire or develop certain characteristics that facilitate their success in the roles bestowed upon them. Moreover, I had a chance to reflect on myself and gain self-awareness on the managerial and leadership qualities I possess and the ones I need to improve on. I have also learnt to acknowledge my weaknesses and choose to dwell on the strengths. I have to change my self-regulation and tenacity skills through learning how to manage my feelings and impulses and devising strategies for dealing with challenges to avoid their interference with my work.
Leadership and management are two distinct but complementary roles in an organization. Each of the responsibilities has different functions and characteristics. Effective leadership and management are necessary for the smooth running of a firm and its holistic success. While managers facilitate the stability of the firm, leaders foster change and enable the organizations to thrive through major transformations in the business world. Leaders and managers perform distinct and interdependent roles designed to achieve the firm’s goals and objectives in the present and future. The holistic success of an organization is determined by an efficient interplay between the leaders and managers.
Algahtani, A. (2014). Are Leadership and Management Different: A Review. Journal of Management Policies and Practices. 2(3): 71- 82.
Dike, V. E., Ken, O. and Donatus, M. E. (2015). Leadership and Management in the 21st Century Organizations: A Practical Approach. World Journal of Social Science Research. 2(2): 139- 159.
Goleman, D. (1998). What Makes a Leader? Harvard Business Review. Pp. 82- 90.
Kirkpatrick, S. A. and Edwin, A. L. (1991). Leadership: Do Traits Matter. The Executive. 5(2): 48- 60.
Lunenburg, F. C. (2011). Leadership Versus Management: A Key Distinction at Least in Theory. International Journal of Management, Business and Administration. 14(1): 1- 4.