Leaders vs Managers

Leaders vs Managers

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”  ~ Nelson Mandela

In many discussions on Leaders and Managers the focus is based on an EITHER – OR argument.

If you are a LEADER, you focus on X; if you are a MANAGER, you focus on Y where X and Y are often on different ends of the spectrum.

As in most things in life, reality does not exist in either Black or White.  “Leadership” issues and “Management” issues merge in a “grey” zone where each perspective is important to the success of the organization. If your organization is one where the individual is both the Leader and the Manager, it is important to understand when and which hat to wear so that these differing attributes can be brought to bear at the correct time and in the correct place for the organization.

So, let’s review 8 differentiators between Leadership attributes and Management attributes:



Style2. STYLE


Vision3. VISION


Culture4. CULTURE
The Leader SHAPES culture / The Manager EXECUTES culture


Direction5. DIRECTION
The Leader FINDS NEW ROADS TO PURSUE / The Manager ENSURES TRAVEL CAN OCCUR on both new and existing roads

Planning6. PLANNING
The Leader SETS THE PLAN / The Manager DEVELOPS THE DETAILS of the Plan

Conflict7. CONFLICT
The Leader uses Conflict as AN ASSET FOR CHANGE / The Manager MANAGES and RESOLVES conflicts

Decision Making8. DECISION-MAKING
The Leader FACILITATES DECISIONS when decision-making is stuck / The Manager MAKES DECISIONS as a matter of course

The ability to know when to bring forth Leadership attributes or Management attributes is largely predicated on the organization’s point in its growth cycle. New start-ups need to focus on Leadership to define and create. After the organization achieves a certain level of growth, it requires stability and management to allow it to hone its processes and build its staff resources so that it can advance to a new plateau. At various points in the growth cycle, leadership attributes must again be brought to bear to address the challenges of competitive markets; economic downturns and revenue stagnation; uninspired employees; overburdening bureaucratic processes, among others that make the organization no longer an effective force in its markets. This Yin and Yang of stability and change and the roles that a Leader and a Manager bring to the table is part of the process of growth, stability and renewal in making the organization sustainable over time. It is critical as a business leader that both leadership and management skills are well honed so that they can be used when relevant and appropriate to guide the organization.

As you look at your role and your organization, ask yourself, “What attributes are important at this point in time to my organization?” “Do I value both roles: the Manager; the Leader?”  “Do I know when to switch between roles?” Knowing when and how to focus those attributes is imperative to your organization’s continuing success.

About Dr. Surya

Using Quantum Physics and business research, Dr. Surya explores the correlation between the science of consciousness and patterns in the business world, to suggest innovative ways of using this wisdom to lead and succeed in a business environment that is constantly evolving at a rapid pace. Self-awareness is the awareness of the self as separate from the thoughts that are occurring at any point in time. Without self-awareness the self perceives and believes the thoughts that are occurring to be who the self is. Self-awareness gives one the option or choice to choose thoughts being thought rather than simply thinking the thoughts that are stimulated from the accumulative events leading up to the circumstances of the moment. Along with his work as an Author, Writer, Blogger and popular Internet Radio Talk Show Host, Dr. Surya is in-demand as a public speaker. Clients include small to large corporations and individuals.
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