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Posted on April 11th, 2014, by

In their essence, leadership and management of the company are two separate, complementary systems, while it is also important to understand that effective leadership and effective governance are not the same things (Caldwell, 2003). Each of the systems has its own function and characteristic activities in the organization. In today’s more and more complex and rapidly changing business world, it is necessary to master both of them to achieve company’s success.

Obviously, not every person is able to be simultaneously a competent manager and a great leader. Some people have a real talent for administrative work, but lacks leadership qualities; others clearly reveal leadership skills, but for different reasons, fail to become effective managers (Maccoby, 2009). The main differences between a manager and a leader include (Capozzoli, 1995; Zenger & Folkman, 2009):

  • Managers administer, and leaders promote innovation;
  • The basis for manager’s actions is a plan; basis for leader’s actions is the vision of the future;
  • Managers accept reality, leaders change the reality;
  • Managers focus on systems and structure, leaders focus on people;
  • Managers delegate tasks, leaders inspire to perform;
  • Managers support, while leaders develop;
  • Managers rely on control, and leaders gain trust.

More specifically, it may be said that a manager is a person who directs the work of others and bears personal responsibility for its results. An effective manager brings order and consistency into the work performed. But manager’s interactions with subordinates are rather built on established goals and roles parties play in the established formal structure, while a leader attempts to inspire the enthusiasm of employees, giving them one’s own vision of the future and helping them adapt in passing through the stage of changes (Zenger & Folkman, 2009). Leaders consider the needs of employees and value they share. In contrast with managers, leaders tend to use emotion and intuition, and are always ready to cause strong feelings in their followers (Capozzoli, 1995; Zenger & Folkman, 2009).

Managers also have a tendency to take the passive position in relation to goals (Capozzoli, 1995). Typically, they are guided by goals set by someone else and hardly use them for introducing changes. By contrast, leaders set their own goals and apply them for changing people’s attitude to work performed. While managers tend to develop their activities in detail and in time, and plan the attraction and usage of resources for maintaining organizational performance, leaders rather achieve the same target or even more by means of developing the vision for the future and ways to implement it, without deepening into operational details and routine (Zenger & Folkman, 2009). Thus, using their professional skills, managers are typically focusing their efforts in the field of decision-making, trying to narrow down the set of possible solutions, often in the short term. Decisions are also often made on the basis of past experience. Leaders, in contrast, are making continuous efforts to develop absolutely new and controversial solutions, suitable for the long-term objectives.

It is clear that in practice, there is no ideal adherence to purely one of these two system approaches. Studies show that a significant group of managers possesses leadership qualities in many ways. However, the reverse situation is found much more rarely in the real world (Maccoby, 2009). Overall, as Caldwell (2003) reasonable marks, leadership serves as the addition to management, rather than is able to replace it. However, developing the ability to leadership in employees, companies should not forget that a strong leader being a weak manager is no better (or even worse) than the other way round.

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