There are many models that depict leadership and management in the business world.
In reality management and leadership have very different meanings: a manager is a title and leader is a function. Management is a position and leadership is a skill.
This article discusses leadership versus management terms and the balance between these two important characteristics in organizations.
Leader vs. Manager: the difference between a leader and a manager
One of the key methods to differentiate between management and leadership are – action verbs.
Some key action verbs that effectively describe leadership performance are: initiate, innovate, originate, decide, think, listen, dream, guide, coach, lead, lead the path, develop, inspire, motivate, establish, dominate, achieve, plan and forecast.
The above verbs demonstrate a very charismatic role – vision.
The leader must be “people oriented” – a leader with no people who are willing to follow him or her is not a leader. He or she should also maintain an effective interpersonal communication relationship with people resulting in an ongoing and growing network. He or she presents original thinking, sometimes a fresh ideal, a vision or a new path that attracts and motivates others to go after him or her without hesitations.
As for the job of manager, the action verbs that represent managerial characteristics are completely different: organize, administer, coordinate, manage, maintain, and follow rules, assign, copy, control, replicate, reproduce and dictate.
The above verbs show a very important purpose – efficiency.
Therefore, the leader gets most of his or her power and authority from people around him or her, while the manager obtains his or her power and authority from his or her position as a manager.
Today’s management style – the diminished difference between a manager and a leader
There were times, long ago.., when workers remained at the same job for 20-30 years and carried the cogs and wheels of the industrial era. Good values of an effective worker were to perform tasks and follow instructions.
One may refer to the hierarchy in an army and the distance between commanders and soldiers. Hence, the manager was an authoritative persona to obey and to respect his or her orders.
Nowadays, the situation in workplaces is different – the new economy is based on flexibility of manpower and human resources competition in which people switch jobs if they aren’t satisfied. As a result, the ‘new manager’ who is managing workers must have some skills of a leader otherwise his or her team performance will deteriorate.
In many cases, if workers aren’t satisfied, they start looking for other jobs and leave.
Organizations actually encourage ‘highly opinionated’ workers – they want people to think before, during and after doing their daily assignments thereby improving performance to achieve company goals.
It should be noted that even the army’s approach has changed, mainly in combat units such as in the IDF – the Israeli army.
The approach today is more of a listen-think-do (and learn for next time) rather than listen-and-do method of the days of old. And you’d better come up with new ideas and initiatives from time to time.
As a result, the distance between managers and workers has been reduced, become informal and requires organizations to develop a leadership style of management combined with e old style of management – challenging..,
Refer to part 2 of this article: The difference between a manager and a leader.
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