In the business world, there are leaders and there are managers. Each plays an important role in an organization’s success. We often confuse the two, but there is a clear distinction between leadership and management. Leadership is an impersonal activity; management is much more intimate. Let’s take a look at what each role does.
Leaders stand in front of the group and paint a compelling picture of the direction in which the group should head. Leaders set the overall vision for the team. Because leaders engage in big-picture thinking, they seldom – if ever – go door-to-door to make sure every member of the group understands their role in the process. Leaders do not need to build intimate relationships to be successful. Instead, leaders use their words and their demeanor to mobilize, energize, and clarify things for the group as a whole.
Managers make the difference between a great vision and the execution of a great vision. They are more involved with the members of the group, building intimate relationships with each person by encouraging, supporting, and developing them one-on-one.
Managers make sure that each member of the group understands their role and they ensure that each member of the group has the support and resources they need to succeed above and beyond expectations. Leaders work in impersonal ways, but managers work face-to-face. Leaders direct the group as a whole, but managers work at the level of the individual.
Management and leadership are two distinct functions. Of course, one person can embody and carry out both functions, but to do so, that person must recognize the ways in which each role serves specific ends. Both leaders and managers are necessary aspects to any team or organization; without managers, leaders have no one to execute their vision. Without leaders, managers have no direction to guide workers. We need both to make the world go round.