The management and leadership of any given organization have the same goal, but take two different approaches toward achieving that success.
Peter Drucker, the late, legendary management consultant, broke it down as follows: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Far more recently, a piece on the website Business.com described the differences as follows: “While a manager is a job title, a leader is a state of being.”
Put simply, leaders provide a company with an overarching vision and inspiration, while managers tend to the day-to-day details and direction of any given project. Leaders see the big picture, managers the smaller one. As a result, it is vital to have the right person in the right role – or, at least, develop the right people to fill those positions – as they impact a company’s productivity, efficiency, morale and retention.
Personal branding expert William Arruda once summarized the differences between the two roles in a piece for Forbes. He pointed out that while leaders create a vision, managers create goals, and while leaders embrace change, managers embrace the status quo. Further, he asserted that while leaders take risks, managers control them, and while leaders build relationships, managers build systems and processes.
Good managers, the website Simplilearn declared, are humble, communicative, emotionally aware and able to use time efficiently. Good managers, by contrast, are decisive, set a good example, offer real-time feedback, and defuse conflict effectively.
Chuck Swoboda, Marquette University’s Innovator-in-Residence and the president of Cape Point Advisors, offered this insight, in a piece for Forbes:
A good organization needs both effective managers and effective leaders. The key is to match the skillset with the business need. One is not better than the other; instead, they are good at different things. And when it comes to innovation, you need leaders. No doubt, for you and your company to really prosper, it’s critical to put yourself in a role that complements your strengths.
Few people are good at both roles, though the late Steve Jobs was a notable exception. While heading up Apple he was viewed as being autocratic, while at the same time giving his creative teams room to ideate. He immersed himself in the details of any given project, but always saw the big picture. As a result, Apple became a behemoth and Jobs, who died in 2011, became something of a legendary figure.
More often, it is small and medium-sized companies that combine the leader/manager roles, out of human capital and budgetary constraints. Larger companies are far more likely to divide the responsibilities between a Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
But the takeaway should be this: There is room on the org chart for both roles. In fact, it is preferable for companies of a given size to go that route. Leaders and managers can complement one another in forging the best possible path forward.