Leadership vs Management

Leadership and management are two commonly used terms in the business world with many mistaking them to be one. Very often, people in business organizations presume a good leader for a good manager. Little do they know that they both are not the same and can not be the same. A good leader can be a good manager but a good manager necessarily need not be a good leader. One needs a clear understanding of who a leader is and who a manager is and also make out the difference between leadership and management.

A leader is someone who leads or commands a group or organization. The activity of leading a group of people or an organization or the ability to do this is leadership. A manager is someone whose job is to organize and control the work of a business or organization or a part of it. The process of dealing with or controlling things or people is management. The main difference between leadership and management is that a leader can be anyone. He does not have to be the person who holds a position in an organization. The characteristics that a manager and a leader share are similar, yet they both are different.

Leadership involves establishing a clear vision and sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly. A leader strives for the vision to come to pass and also provides the information, knowledge, and methods to help others(team/organization that follow him/his vision) to realize that vision. Apart from being visionary, the other important attribute of a leader is handling a conflict. He always engages himself in an influential interaction with the team members and makes sure a strong and positive relationship is built in between the duo. He coordinates and balances the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders in a constructive approach. A leader steps up in times of crisis to lead from the front and is able to think and act creatively in difficult situations.

Management involves building a strategic vision and the ability to execute it. He formulates and enforces the policies of a business and does what is needed to achieve the plan and the goals. Unlike leader who establishes principles, a manager establishes rules, procedures and processes to execute the plans. While leaders empower, motivate and mentor their team to achieve the goals, managers unlikely direct and monitor their team to achieve them. Managers are short-term focused and they pay a keen attention to the problems, details from the team as they are responsible to make decisions concerning those issues.

The major attribute that distinguishes management from leadership is that management can be taught, whereas leadership, may be learned and enhanced through coaching or mentoring. A leader always has the charm of inspiring, motivating and influencing his subordinates to perform and engage them in achieving a goal. Managers, on the other hand, control people or the group to accomplish a goal. Both managers and leaders are important for any organization. Having someone who is both a manager and a leader is an added advantage to the team and organization as a whole who can

Are leaders born or made? This has been a serious question for the past many decades with few arguing that leaders are born while others debating that they are made. However, the leadership myth that leaders are born implies to the fact that there is a genetic factor to a leadership. This myth also asserts that people have certain charismatic qualities or personality traits to be a leader. Which is not. If we observe some historical leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, etc., we find different personality traits in them all.

Generally speaking, a leader is a person who rises up from the multitude and comes forward to take the challenge. He is someone who has the best training, nurturing, developmental opportunities and someone who is not hidden in the crowd or unwilling to take new opportunities. Here, the best training does not necessarily include being exceptionally trained or mentored. Rathers, it includes deliberate practice, struggle, sacrifice, hard work, and regular self-assessment of that individual. Best Leadership is a learning process where good leaders seek out developmental opportunities that will help them learn new skills, seek new experiences. Leadership learning is lifetime activity where a leader is in a constant self-introspection mode and strives to learn, develop and improve.

The most heard phrase or the most used norm that “Everyone is born to lead”, often raises few questions that speak for the credibility of the leader. The questions like “Are you a leader?”, “What kind of leader are you?” and “What kind of leader do you want to be?” are something that an individual who wants to outstand the crowd listens to. The moment you give a thought to those questions and frame answers through your continuous efforts, opportunities, taking risks, working hard and commitment, is when you unlock the leadership potential in you. What determines a leader is his/her way of thinking which is further reflected in his behaviour and later demonstrated.

There are few traits that every leader should possess.

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