Leaders and Managers: The two terms are often confused and used interchangeably by many, but they do not mean the same thing nor are they opposite of each other.
Management in an organization is easily defined; it is a system of people within an organization with at least minimal decision-making abilities that use company resources to achieve organizational goals. Management is often task-oriented, and the categories of employees that fall under management are staffing, controlling, planning, and organizing. On the other hand, leadership is a term that is usually a lot less clearly defined. It can be argued that the definition of leadership is to ‘lead a group of people to achieve a common goal,’ and managers do that. It is no wonder the terms are so easily confused…
Within an organization, it is the leaders that create the common goal and the processes by which managers will ensure their employees achieve it. An organization starts with leadership and a vision. Take Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for example; He is true leader whose multi-billion dollar corporation started from his vision. Now Facebook continues to expand and create world-changing updates to its system, because visionary Mark Zuckerberg strategically identifies leaders to manage the continued evolution of Facebook.
Is every leader a manager? No. Is every manager a leader? No … but the best managers are. The most successful organizations have a solid mixture of effective managers and effective leaders. Leaders generate new ideas, and managers execute them. Leaders create a system, and managers oversee the day to day operations within that system. Leaders are effective, and managers are efficient. Leaders inspire others to do great, and managers motivate others to achieve a goal. Leaders create change, and managers work to create stability & consistency. Leaders have followers, while managers have associates. Leaders make the rules (and sometimes break them,) and managers follow the rules. Leaders oversee, and managers supervise. Every organization is different, but regardless of the overall vision for the company, it is important to understand that there is a difference between leadership and management. Often times, the definitions of both management and leadership are situational and according to the organizational structure. The best organizations understand and value both managers & leaders and encourage their managers to lead.