Many of us may feel there is very little difference between a manager and a leader except that the former is official, while the latter isn’t. However, the differences between these two personnel relate to their approaches to a task, people management, beliefs and perspectives.
In the corporate environment, I have come across quite a few knowledgeable managers. Indeed, they are the best in their field. However, their subordinates are unenthusiastic about work and they produce lackluster quality of work. Their productivity falls with every passing day. They are disloyal to their managers and take reactive steps against their managers. Why? What makes the difference between a successful manager who commands the loyalty of their subordinates and an unsuccessful one?
Leadership Skills: Managers tend to focus more on results and processes rather than people. In fact, they alienate the people involved in projects and are not over-pleased if their subordinates achieve expected results. They also pay little attention to the sentiments of the subordinates.
In contrast, leaders focus on people and their feelings, rather than just results. They listen to the concerns of the subordinates and try to resolve or, at least, show the way to overcome them. Thus, they earn the respect of their subordinates and command their loyalty. This is why a leader has followers and not subordinates.
Formal Authority: Managers have formal authority by which they give instructions to their subordinates and expect their compliance. They order their subordinates to do a particular task within a set deadline. They even shout at their subordinates if they fail to meet their deadline. Leaders, on the other hand, lead by example. They do not just announce the task and deadline but show and lead the team to the deadline.
Credit and Blame: Managers take credit and give blame. They are self-centered. But leaders are the opposite. They give credit and take blame. Thus, they show assurance that they are with their subordinates through thick and thin. Subordinates, in turn, show their commitment to their leader and do whatever it takes to make their leader succeed.
Objectives: Managers are obsessed with their objectives. They concentrate more on short-term results. They are not risk-takers and never let their subordinates go beyond their present commitments. In contrast, leaders are visionaries. They encourage their subordinates to experiment and come up with innovative solutions which makes the latter’s job enjoyable.
To be an effective manager, it is necessary to combine one’s managerial skills with leadership. It is not necessary to be born a leader because one can acquire leadership skills with appropriate training and consistent practice.
Do share your thoughts on the same.