Management and leadership, are they the same or different? The topic has been discussed, debated, and argued over for many years. In the past the terms were used interchangeably in business but in recent years there has developed a clear definition and function for each role.
EM Kelly said, "Remember the difference between a boss and a leader; a boss says 'GO!' - a leader says, "Let's go." That is an apt description of the role of a manager and leader.
Managers have subordinates and receive authority when the company entrusts them with their management position. By the nature of their roles, the subordinates follow the manager's directives. Managers focus on tactile activities and most times have a more directive and controlling approach. This is not a negative trait, being able to organize people to accomplish tasks is an asset to an organization. Managers are paid to get things accomplished and they pass this on to those in their charge.
One trait that will help managers to accomplish their responsibility is a positive attitude towards those they manage. There is nothing wrong with a pleasant good-natured approach to people and problems. One-reason managers do not use it more often is that under pressure of business people sometimes take themselves to seriously. They start to think about there problems and feelings and forget about others they manage. Another reason managers do not use a positive and pleasant attitude under pressure is the myth they believe that a manager must be gruff or grumpy in order to appear firm and decisive and to get things done. The grumpy, gruff, dictator manager soon loses respect of those he needs to accomplish the work. A manager can be firm and decisive with a smile on their face and a pleasant attitude and be just as convincing once the people learn that the manager means what they say and sticks to it.
Leaders can be operational managers and have those characteristics but they need an additional set of skills. Leaders do not have subordinates, at least not when they are leading. A leader must give up formal authoritarian control when leading because following is always a voluntary activities.
Telling people what to do does not "inspire" people to follow. Leaders appeal to people and show them how to follow and perhaps take risks in situations they normally would not do. Excellent leadership skills are innate and therefore harder to learn. One trait that every outstanding leader has is the ability to check their ego at the door. They are more concerned with the people they lead and giving them credit for the success and taking the blame when things do not go as planned.
If you think of several of the best leaders you have worked for they all have traits in common in addition to giving credit and praise to employees, some of these characteristics are;
Being approachable and easy to talk to always having time for you and listening intently, caring about what was being verbalized.
They rarely became excited or angry at a situation, and they remained positive in the face of adversity and did not let the situation change their outlook.
They showed a consideration for the feelings of the people who worked for them.
Being able to communicate the goals and objective clearly and concisely and obtaining agreement going forward.
Can a manager be a leader or a leader be a manager at the same time? Yes, it is possible for this to happen. Peter Drucker, the outstanding management guru said, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing." This tells us that there are two different skill sets needed to be both and they must work together. It is possible for an individual to have both, but it is a rare combination blended together. Keep in mind, there is an abundance of manager in business but very few embody the characteristics of a leader.