Leaders Lead, Managers Manage

By Shumyla Mariyam

Leaders Lead, Managers Manage

It is said that leaders are born, not made. John C. Maxwell quoted that

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way."

It is somewhat true that no purpose, institute, or organization is capable of prospering without an inspiring leader, but none of it is possible without this plain ten letter word we all know as Management. As simple as that sounds, a lay man is unable to comprehend the depth behind that phenomena and that nothing is possible without management. Along with knowing how both leadership and management are essential for any organization to develop, one must understand the differences between the two. It is a common mistake made among young entrepreneurs who fail to consider the situations that require leadership at one point and management at another. 


  1. Origin of Management

Since the earliest stages of the human civilization, the idea of management has been utilized by the people as an exceptional tool to play out tasks and jobs efficiently. The impact of management can be witnessed in the very earliest of civilizations. It was practically impossible to revolutionize and create well-equipped, prepared and modern urban communities without the effective use of management skills and abilities. Throughout the history of human advancement, historic masterpieces like the Pyramids of Egypt, Great Wall of China, and Colosseum in Rome and not to forget the Indian Taj Mahal are proofs of the use of exceptional management skills.

It was during the 19th century when Frederick Taylor derived a theory that management was the key aspect to getting tasks done efficiently along with the motivation of workers. It was after that the formal studies of the concept of management started to advance. Renowned engineers and sociologists like Henri Fayol and Max Weber further researched into the phenomena and derived their own theories. Management was described to have the four fundamental administrations, Planning, Leading, Controlling, and Organizing.

  1. Origin of Leadership

During the 20th Century, Frederick Winslow Taylor thought of the practice of scientific management. Despite this not being a leadership theory, it did alter the way leader-managers interacted with people. Taylor believed that leaders are born, not made. However, Fred Fiedler thought up the Contingency Theory during the mid-1960’s. This theory believed that there was no one best style of leadership and that a leader’s style was the one best fit within a given situation. This means that a different leadership style mattered during different situations. This theory also brought up the notion that leaders have different traits which can be used in different circumstances therefore there is not one best way of leadership.  In 1972, Robert House – a psychologist- developed a theory known as the: “Path-Goal Theory”. The main purpose of this theory was to understand that if you wanted your employees to achieve their goals, then you would need to motivate and support them. You can do this by ensuring they identify their goal, remove all obstacles and most prominently offer rewards along the way. If employees are not rewarded, their morale can decrease and their motivation can slip. This then hinders their ability to focus on their goal and can become a great obstacle to completing a goal.  The correct leadership style must be picked in this theory as different styles account for different situations.

  1. Differences Between Leadership and Management

One way of looking at the differences between the two is that, a manager is a good soldier, where as a leader his/her own person. A leader will tell the manager -his subordinate- what to do, and the manager will initiate, while the leader will coordinate. A Leader is someone with a vision, for the company be it long term or not, he will try to obtain a target, and he will then tell the manager to fulfil that target. A Manager will try his best to avoid conflict and a leader will use conflict so that employees can develop teamwork skills and remove any negative aspects of their personality. Another key contrast between the two is that a manager will ensure stability occurs, he/she will not look for any change, however this is an area where a leader excels. Leaders make sure change occurs and they try their best to shape the culture of the organisation. Managers make use of the quote: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” whereas Leaders challenge this status quo, and try to come up with even better ways than it was before. Managers mainly focus on the tasks which includes factor such time, money and humans. Managers must plan budgets to use for the entire year in each department, they also should coordinate and direct goals for employees to achieve, making sure that tasks are not half completed. However, this is a contrast between a manager and a Leader. Leadership focuses on achieving goals by keeping the team motivated so they give their all and do not slack off, also it empowers them to achieve everything they want. Leadership is about creating the perfect environment for employees to bring the best out of each other. Some of the aspects Leaders have to take into account is Vision. Whereas, managers focus on goals short term, and think decisions that will impact immediately.  Leaders think of goals that will occur over long term, they think more strategically. They aim to bring employees together by their skills at persuasion, a cohesive workforce results in unity which results in increased performance. Leaders can also coach employees, this means that they listen to their viewpoints and this is extremely key. Managers, don't pay attention to each employee, as they are more focused on making profit and achieving current goals. Leaders take time to understand employees, tackle their issues and more importantly give them freedom to grow and develop so they can become their own person. Leaders are more willing to take more risks to ensure employees grow and develop whereas Managers are less reluctant and therefore minimise risks.

In the past, there was a time when managers were separated from leaders, a manager working in a factory back then would simply do his job, without thinking what he is doing or why he is doing the job, the focus back then was simply being efficient, and the manager needed employees to produce at a good rate for profit. In the current economy, where value occurs from the everyday man, and where people not simply irrelevant components in a company, or 'cogs in a machine' as the saying goes. Here, managers & leaders are not Managers have a difficult but achievable task, they have to organise workers, so that they get the best out of them, increased efficiency by the workers leads to increased output and managers also have to nurture their underlings in a manner in which they can develop talent and also enable results to occur as well as progress by each year. This then means that, with more and more value being derived from workers, perhaps, managers don't only manage people, but also lead them. This means that perhaps, one person can be both a manager and a leader, not just one or the other.

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