What’s the Difference Between a Manager and a Leader? (Part 2)
Last week we discussed the differences between managers and leaders. This week let’s look at managing and leading from a different angle.
To reiterate from last week, Zaleznik theorized that leading and managing are not merely different skill sets, but represent attributes of fundamentally different kinds of people.
In 1990, however, Harvard management guru John Kotter argued that executives could be both leader and manager. He said that one person can and should embody both characteristics — -that management and leadership complement each other.
Personally, I agree with Kotter that managing and leading are not necessarily mutually exclusive functions and roles. Instead of trying to type someone as a leader or manager, perhaps we could call them all executives, then with a propensity for leading or managing.
Here’s another look at the comparisons from the previous Weekly Briefing. I’ve changed managers to management, and leaders to leadership. See what you think…
- The best word for management is balance; the best word for leadership is change.
- Management wants to smooth things out; leadership wants to shake things up.
- Management thinks about how to oversee the existing order of things; leadership thinks about how to shape the future.
- Management thinks about execution; leadership goes for ideas.
- Management seeks control; leadership seeks out risk.
- Management seeks stability and, therefore, prefers to act quickly to solve problems; leadership handles ambiguity well and can delay closure.
- Management focuses on problem-solving and achieving the results to which the organization is committed; leadership incites people to think about what could be.
- Management views work as a process of compromises so that everyone can be a winner; leadership looks for opportunities for large gains at the risk of failure.
- Management tends to be social but not as emotionally involved; leadership has high emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Management sends “signals;” leadership sends “messages.”
- Management focuses on following the correct procedures to resolve an issue (the process); leadership focuses on the substance of an issue.
Bottom line? People are much more complex and difficult to slot as “this” or “that.” No doubt you could picture yourself doing all or any of the above depending on the needs of the moment.
Whether you think leaders and managers are fundamentally different kind of people, or that leadership and management are merely different roles that can be played by the same person — both leading and managing are essential success factors.
So what’s your take? And how can it change or improve the way you do ministry and life in general?
Kotter, J. P. (1990, 2001). What leadership really do. Harvard Business Review, 79(11), 85-96.
Zaleznik, A. (1977, 2004). Managers and leaders: are they different? Harvard Business Review, (82)1, 74-81.
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