People often use the terms leader and manager interchangeably, but they are distinctly different. Although the roles and responsibilities of each position are equally important in ensuring company success, employees that hold these essential positions must define and recognize the special characteristics of each profession. Clearly defining the differences between manager and leader involves examining each position in detail. What type of person makes the best leader? How do managers lead their employees? Answering these questions, along with discovering how managers and leaders can work to create and maintain a healthy organizational culture, enables executives to contribute to the success of their organizations.
Management is a function that every business needs, but how does one define management? Bateman and Snell (2003) describe it as, "the process of working with people and resources to accomplish organizational goals" (p. 14). Managers plan, set goals, and make certain the company meets them effectively by directing employees and other resources.
When a problem or difficulty arises within the pursuit of reaching company goals, managers are the ones who analyze the dilemma and determine the most efficient solution. Good managers exemplify rationality and control along with persistence, intelligence, and tolerance. Many managers are task-oriented and therefore remain focused on the bottom line of the organization. Unfortunately, while focusing on the success of the company, these same managers often neglect the feelings of their subordinates. For this reason, subordinates perceive these types of managers as staunch and unapproachable. Depending on the management style preferred by the subordinates, employee morale can suffer in this environment. Perhaps managers should seek to be effective leaders as well as successful managers.
What is the greatest difference between leadership and management? The answer is easy: a vision. Great leaders have a vision for the future and communicate that vision...