Solving the Age-Old Manager vs. Leader Dilemma
It is often said that not all good managers are good leaders, neither are all good leaders good managers. The business world kind of kept peace with this reality for a long time, but now the tides are turning. With the changing organizational hierarchy, the need to find people who can manage and lead in an equally efficient manner has become crucial. As a matter of fact, management is a one of the most critical leadership skills one needs to confidently control the helm.
Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle faced in nurturing great leadership and management qualities is misunderstanding of the two terms due to their archaic definition. The conventional definition of a leader is a person who makes plans and strategies, and a manager is a person who makes people implement and follow those plans. There is something seriously wrong with these definitions as neither focus on the people, the cornerstone of any organization. Smarter organizations who have evolved with the time have realized that the power and potential lies in the people, and it can be truly realized not by controlling them but by encouraging and empowering them.
Now the new, and naturally improved, definition that works in benefit of the organization as well as each individual associated with is more centered around people, be it the employees, partners, or customers. A true leader is one who inspires people to perform better by realizing their own potential and a manager is the one responsible for creating an environment/system that enables and facilitate people to do so. With the same focus and the same goal, the differences are widely settled and the chances of conflict almost eliminated. So, while it is ideal that leaders should posses good managerial skills and managers should be able to think like leaders, it takes time to develop such aptitude and understanding.
At the end of the day what becomes most important for an organization is to develop a team where leaders and managers share not just the goal but also the values, vision, and most importantly, perspective. Together, they must be able to inspire trust among the people – employees, partners, and clients alike. Most of all, the biggest responsibility that leaders and managers share is to create and provide opportunities to develop leadership and managerial skills among the team, for not even the greatest empire can survive without ensuring a worthy successor.