Leadership and management are related, but they are not the same. In general, a leader motivates and inspires people. A manager’s job is to organize, coordinate and plan. They must work together in order to obtain the desired result, and any attempt to keep them completely separate is problematic. The modern business world is blurring the line even further.
A leader sets the tone while developing a strategy and keeps the focus on people while inspiring trust. Leadership always takes the long-term perspective and asks the right questions to sustain forward momentum because the eye is on the prize. A leader is an individual who is not afraid to challenge the status quo or do the right thing, even if the choice is unpopular.
A manager copies the leader’s style while maintaining the structure of the system. Management always takes the short-term view with a focus on control because “when” is more important than “why.” A manager is an imitator who is concerned with the bottom line and wants to keep the status quo as is because it is more important to be a team player than an individual who charges ahead.
There was a time in history when leadership and management were truly separate. A factory foreman was not concerned with workers so much as following orders, organizing and assigning work, coordinating results and getting the job done by the end of the day. Today’s employees are valued just as much for ideas as they are for labor, which means they look to managers to give them purpose as well as work. Managers must also help to add talent, build skills and get the desired results all while staying efficient.
Peter Drucker, an expert in managerial skills, coined the term “knowledge worker,” and educated others on how that would change the world of business. He wrote that in the modern world, workers no longer require management. They need leadership. The focus should be on the specific ideas and strengths of every person and turning that into efficient production that meets goals and increases the bottom line.
Leadership and management are two different approaches to the same goal. While they are not the same, they do complement one another. Going into the future, it is likely there will be more leaders than managers as the business world continues to evolve.