Leaders versus managers

A lot has been written about the differences between managers and leaders. But there are also similarities and an effective organization will feature an optimal mix of both types. Here’s a refresher on these two roles and some ideas on how they can bond to create lasting value and success.

Leaders create a vision, while managers implement it; managers perform routine work, leaders operate outside the box; managers direct people, leaders inspire them.

Leaders excite and motivate their followers with a tantalizing vision of the future and their place in that vision. Meanwhile, managers set targets and source tangible deliverables on a daily basis.

As managers focus on the daily activities, leaders are busy going against the status quo to imbue their vision with excitement, a little bit of mystery and creative tension. This may ruffle people’s feathers as a leader challenges their beliefs. It is for this reason that leaders should strive to communicate well.

It’s no mean feat convincing people to go against their intuitions and conventional wisdom However, a strong vision will do precisely that in order to differentiate the organization from its rivals. Moreover, if the vision involves difficult ideas, leaders must develop the necessary finesses to explain the finer points to their followers, particularly the managerial level.

Once the lofty goals are established, it’s up to the managers to slog through the nitty-gritty technical details of actually creating the future. They do this by focusing on the bottom line and compliance to create a stable environment in which to achieve the organization’s goals.

We must also remember that strong communication is not limited to leaders. As managers go about living into their leader’s vision, they must be able to break it down into actionable and digestible nuggets of information and convey it to their team.

Both managers and leaders must also remain in close communication with each other to  to remain aligned. As an organization implements more and more of its vision, leaders must remain present to new challenges and opportunities and update the vision accordingly.

As we can see, communication transcends the differences between managers and leaders. It’s the glue that binds a team together and prevents breakdowns. Like the oil in your car’s engine, lubricating the gears and softening rough edges so that the whole thing functions properly.

So get talking to each other. Let us know where your conversations go – comment below or tweet us @TheShepherdGroup