Does everybody possess the potential to become a manager, or does it take a special kind of person with natural leadership qualities to manage a company? Modern day problems do require modern solutions, but I think a little look back at the history will give us some solutions as well. Before we dive into the historical anecdotes let us address the elephant in the room. Can a manager become a true leader in the modern-day context of employment and work?
The common belief is that leadership is about inspiring, and management is about planning. From this statement itself it’s quite clear that managers do have a bad rep. Leaders tend to be more closer to the subordinates and they are known to praise, give recognition and elevate their followers’ confidence so as to inspire them to reach their utmost potential and even more. A leader will paint a picture of what a company plans on achieving in the hope that the followers will clearly understand the path they need to go in. they should be able to engage the people involved into making the company’s view a reality in the long run as well as the short run.
Of course, different situations will call for different types of leadership or management but in the essence the idea of working under a leader is more appealing to a subordinate than working under a manager. Let us now consider the role of a manager. A manger is able to plan organize and execute those plans in order to reach company goals. People do not expect managers to be very considerate towards more human aspects of their sub ordinates. Managers tend to use a more authoritative tone over their employees, and they tell people what to do. But they would not necessarily inspire their subordinates to do their utmost. We see a controlling aspect regarding managers.
The definition of leadership is “the ability of an individual to influence, enable and motivate others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members”. Even in leadership we can see different styles. They include autocratic, democratic, bureaucratic and transformational. Autocratic leadership is where the leader has a lot of authority and takes individual control over all decisions with little input from group members. Democratic leadership is where members of a team has a more participative role in decision making. This has a more modern look and even ideas are exchanged freely among members and the leader. In bureaucratic leadership a strict hierarchal environment can be seen. Rigid rules, standard processes, stiff division of labor and responsibilities are characteristic features of this style of leadership. Transformational leadership is considered as the most effective style of leadership nowadays. This is where leaders inspire and motivate employees to grow and make innovative changes for the success of the company.
Since we dug a little deep into leadership let us now look at management. The cut dry definition of management is controlling and directing a group of people or entities for the purpose of coordinating and harmonizing that group towards accomplishing a goal”. Functions of management can be stated as follows, organizing, staffing, controlling, directing and planning.
If a comparison of these two terms is considered, we can state them as follows. While managers will focus on planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling leaders focus on building relationships, communication, teamwork, they can persuade and inspire teams. A manager will get his authoritative power by the virtue of his position while a leader gets his authority from his own followers. Managers will lay down a plan, delegate power and responsibilities while a leader will provide direction by developing a company vision and affectively communicating it to the employees. Although a manager will follow a company’s policies and protocols a leader will naturally follow his own instinct with confidence. We can say that management is science based because it involves a lot of mind centered situations and management is exact, planned, mostly standard and logical whereas leadership is more of an art. Management is more related to the technical dimension in an organization or the job content but leadership deals with the people aspect of an organization. Managers tend to measure and evaluate people by corporal and tangible things like past records, present performances etc. but a leader will always see the potential of people which could even be hidden in the present. Leaders should be able to extract the full potential of people. In management written communication is more prominent whereas in leadership verbal communication is more prominent.
With all these differences the question arises as to whether there are any similarities between leadership and management. At first glance it may seem that there are no similarities but if we dig deep, we can find some. The main similarity is that both need groups and teams to achieve the ultimate goal they desire. And both these parties are not good if they do not have empathy and self-awareness. Management and leadership both create the foundation of an organization and functional structure. Both leadership and management are concerned with achieving goals. Management and leadership’s main concern is to allocate available resources in such a way that they can be used efficiently and effectively.
So now that we have investigated all these areas let us get to the point. What is the relationship between managers and leaders? They go hand in hand. It is quite clear that they are related from all the facts we have considered above. But are managers also leaders? A concept has been circulating around that managers and leaders are two separate entities which I believe is a very wrong concept. These types of misconceptions have left leaders who are incapable of managing and managers who lack leadership skills. A leader who cannot manage will have a vision of where he wants to lead the company but has no idea how to get there and there are managers who cannot create trust and to engage his employees.
Thus, I would like to conclude that management and leadership are intertwined together and that neither one of them can exist without each other. The idea is to find a balance between these two so as to achieve the goals of the company.