The words ‘leaders’ and ‘managers’ are often used in the business world and are sometimes used interchangeably as well. Many consider leadership and management as mutually exclusive while others claim that there are many common qualities required in both the domains. The leader vs manager debate, therefore, has takers for both sides.
Read this blog if you want to know the difference between being a leader and being a manager. It looks at the conventional meaning of both these areas, lists their differences, focuses on the benefits of pursuing leadership and management courses and summarises the similarities between the two.
What is leadership?
Leadership can be defined as the process of motivating a group to achieve a common goal. Leadership also entails breaking boundaries and taking risks to convert a vision into a reality.
Within a business environment, this means motivating employees to meet the company goals. Exceptional leaders need to be inspiring, good at communicating, honest with their subordinates, and should also have the ability to think outside the box.
What is management?
Management can be defined as a process of achieving the goals of an organisation through efficient use of resources within a dynamic environment. In simpler terms, management involves making use of available resources to meet difficult targets.
Good managers must be equipped with strategic skills to break down demanding visions into achievable targets. They must establish rules and regulations in a workplace, define the boundaries and specifics of the operating procedures, delegate tasks to employees with regards to their strengths, and follow up with them to ensure target completion.
What is the difference between leaders and managers?
Being a manager and leader are not mutually inclusive. There are subtle differences between the two, which are outlined below.
1. A leader innovates and a manager organises
It is the role of a leader to come up with new ideas or motivate people to adopt innovative thinking skills. A leader always looks beyond the horizon—they envision the future for the organisation and the employees. As a leader, you have the benefit of disrupting by the norm by suggesting ideas that can be considered unorthodox.
On the other hand, it’s the job of a manager to stay grounded and break down ideas into what’s idealistic and what’s achievable. They maintain the established system by managing employees, workflows and deadlines. A manager must be practical to ensure that targets are met with the available resources.
2. A manager is closer to employees than a leader
A leader may have a lot of apprentices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are close to them in all cases. The job of a leader is to inspire the employees; to lead them by example to do their best.
However, managers will deal with their employees on a regular basis. They will therefore know their strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and goals much better than a leader. This helps managers bring out the best in their team and develop their skill sets.
3. A leader asks ‘what’ and ‘why’, and a manager asks ‘how’ and ‘when’
Good leadership may require questioning the current state of affairs in an organisation. Leaders must assess and analyse company failures to come up with strategies for future successes.
However, managers generally ask questions focusing on the procedures required to implement the idea, as well as the deadline for the implementation.
Benefits of studying leadership programmes:
Having obtained a master’s degree in leadership, you will be eligible to apply for C-suite executive positions in notable MNCs and other large corporations. If you would rather join a start-up, many new organisations are in constant need for individuals who are qualified to help them navigate the complex path of organisational development.
Upon completion of these programmes, you will have the ability to manage demanding targets, resolve conflicts and lead teams effectively. All of these qualities will ensure you are an attractive resource to companies facing organisational issues. Leadership programmes impart transferable skills that help you excel in any field or career.
Benefits of studying management:
Business management courses help students learn how to deal with tighter deadlines and utilise resources effectively within often unorganised workplaces. They also impart transferable skills that are useful in many positions other than managerial jobs.
Throughout the duration of management courses, students develop the necessary skills to build a successful career in almost all fields such as finance, healthcare, social services, transport or human resources.
After graduation, you can also consider a career in academics by pursuing further studies such as a PhD or Post-doc.
The crossover between leadership and management
Although leaders and managers often have different skill sets, it’s ideal to have a skill set that allows you to excel both as a leader and a manager. Managers often need to think innovatively and come up with unconventional strategies, in addition to their regular duties. They should also be able to inspire confidence in their employees to also become effective leaders.
On the other hand, leaders also need to pick up core management skills such as budgeting, recruitment, handling employee concerns and delegating responsibilities to succeed in a business world.
If you want to specialise in one of these subjects, the London School of Business and Finance offers short development programmes in both leadership and management. The leadership development programme focuses on improving your approach to developing strategies and communication skills. The course is ideal for managers or executives who want to make a difference in their organisations.
The management development programme from LSBF focuses on updating you with the latest trends in the core areas of management, preparing you for the dynamic world of business and management. To find out more about the courses, click here.
This article was written by Sweha Hazari and edited by Amelia Hayward-Cole
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