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Manager vs leader: similarities and differences

Author: Emma Bernard Published on: Thursday Jul 8, 2021

To point out the similarities and differences between a manager and a leader, we need to explain both concepts in detail

Manager vs leader: similarities and differences

The role of the manager

The role of the manager in the management process is crucial. Its success depends on the extent to which it meets the needs of the overall activity in the company.

The functions of the manager are diverse, but the main activity is "to control the social forces in the organization, to shape and direct the overall system, to ensure the commitment and commitment of people to the common cause" (C. Barnard).

According to another well-known theorist of management - P. Drucker - the manager must define the goals and objectives of production, create the development of people and create meaning in their activities.

What characterizes the activity of the manager is the general nature of his functions, their focus on the company's strategy. He must be able to master the whole activity, to be able to see in the abstract the specific problems of the company.

Performing these functions requires certain qualities that can be classified differently. Some of the common classifications are technical, humanitarian, conceptual, and basic.

Technical qualities are associated with knowledge of production technology and its technical capabilities. Humanitarian qualities cover the whole range of relations between the leader and his subordinates. The ability of the manager to anticipate, understand and relate the various elements and phenomena, guided by the company's strategy, determine its conceptual capabilities.

They require a broad view of things, the ability to weed out minor problems, and to focus on the general, the main. The base group is related to the manager's ability to speak, to assess situations well, to allocate his time skillfully, to be ethical, etc.

It is indisputable that each of these groups of qualities, which are necessary for the performance of the functions of the manager, is in a different relationship of them. More important are the objective requirements of the activity, because depending on the nature of the production requires the predominance of one or another quality of the manager.

Managers have "practical intelligence"

It is difficult to formulate a description and measure quality, the need for which is recognized by all authors. This is the so-called "practical intelligence". It is not determined by intelligence tests or education level but is gained through experience.

It includes the ability to motivate and reward people so that they work better and find satisfaction in work, the ability to work with people, and to identify their own goals with those of the company.

These managers delegate as many rights as possible, avoid unrealistic plans, and act according to the specific situation. Reference: Different types of managers, https://bvop.org/journal/types-of-managers/

They make every effort to develop their subordinates, have an accurate idea of ​​their capabilities, and avoid direct leadership styles.

Managers in Japan

A survey conducted in Japan among 41 managers shows that the most necessary qualities for the head of the company are divided into two groups: conceptual and personal and are ranked in order of importance as follows:

  • Conceptual abilities - energetic initiative and determination; long-term predictability and flexibility; width of vision; hard work and continuous learning;
  • Personal qualities - impartiality, selflessness, and loyalty; ability to use the capabilities of associates; willingness to listen to the opinions of others; personal charm; ability to create a harmonious atmosphere; ability to accurately formulate goals;

Of interest is the question of what qualities those who have proven to be good managers have. In this way, the reliability of these studies can be determined, which are based on the preferences of one or another managerial quality.

According to a study by D. McClelland. the best managers rank high in need of strength and low in need of communication. They are not interested in people, but discipline. They believe that the institution is more important than the individuals in it, love work and discipline, sacrifice their interest for the good of the company and treat their subordinates in the same way.

The results of research conducted over the years by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan are different. The best managers are those who help the work of their subordinates, facilitate the work of people, encourage interaction and mutual assistance among all members of the team and require high work efficiency.

The differences between the two studies should not be surprising. The need for a different set of qualities depends on many diverse and contradictory factors, which determines both the different assessments of the necessary qualities and the actual existing qualities of good managers. Reference: "The profession of the manager: How to become one", https://scrumtime.org/profession-of-the-manager/

Types of managers

Depending on the different combination of the necessary and possessed qualities by the manager, four types of managers are formed:

Innovative and analytical. He is energetic, innovative and a good organizer, receptive to new information, rich in ideas, makes quick decisions, and ensures good integration.

Innovative and intuitive

Energetic, innovative, make quick decisions without taking into account sufficient resources, strives to do his work, intolerant of mistakes, authoritarian, imposing his opinion.

Conservative and analytical

Strives for perfection do not take risks, theoretically consistent, demanding, reluctant to make decisions.

Conservative and intuitive

Attachment to traditional methods, inflexible, supporter of experience, lack of clear goals, likes to punish, and demands obedience.

The manager himself, if he has a realistic assessment of his qualities, can make a self-diagnosis by grouping the individual abilities into two groups: one, expressing the different degree of desire for dominance and power, called "dominance", and the other - expressing tact and friendliness. called "sociability".

With high dominance and sociability, the manager is the best. With low dominance and high sociability, the manager is inclined to cooperative management. With high dominance and low sociability, we talk about the authoritarianism of the manager, and with low dominance and low sociability, the manager feels helpless to control the processes in the company. Reference: “Trends and features of modern management”, https://www.policymatters.net/trends-and-features-of-modern-management/

There is another classification that expresses the relationship between the phases of the product life cycle and the required type of manager in each of them.

The need for a "pioneer" leader

When creating a new production, the central issue in the markets, which is why a "pioneer" is needed - a leader who attracts others and is willing to take risks. He must make quick decisions, be proactive and innovative.

In the next phase - growth - an "engine" manager is needed with emphasized energy, realism, analytical knowledge, and determination. This is a time when the "fruits" of the given product must be picked, which requires purposefulness and at the same time - the ability not to fall into euphoria from the results obtained.

In the phase of differentiation, the dynamics of the processes decreases, but at the same time, the need for new competitive and market positions and goals arises. Then you need a "strategist" conceptually thinking manager, able to take risks, to delegate their rights, with a rich imagination and vision for the future.

In the phase of consolidation, characterized by developed methods of planning and control, with a built cultural and communication environment, a "consolidator" is needed - sociable, able to integrate and motivate people, to coordinate their activities.

The overall management activity is a continuous process of interaction between the manager and the team of the company. Research shows that 70% of the manager's time is for making contacts with subordinates, and 71% of his activities are related to the implementation of communications.

A survey in Germany on the qualities of managers, which are most valued by subordinates, shows the following results: 24% - honest in criticism, reprimands, without offending; 22% - worthy, accurate; 20% - kind, decent; 17% - authority based on good special knowledge; 17% - not to engage in intrigue, not to have favorites, not to show preferences.

According to another study conducted in the United States, employees value the following qualities in managers: good listener, correct appearance, the radiance of honesty and justice, humanity and sense of humor, contact, and ability to enter the position of others, good knowledge of the specialty, readiness for delegation, breakthrough and endurance, balance and self-criticism, purposefulness, ability to motivate, positive thinking.

The manager has to listen

In the future, the importance of such qualities of the manager as the ability to listen, to spend time training and passing on their experience to their subordinates, to create an appropriate spirit among the team, to balance between respect for work and respect for staff will increase.

As can be seen, the tendency is to increase the importance of purely human rather than professional qualities. The manager is increasingly accepted as a unifying person, as a person who can and should create the spiritual climate in the company, who should help, explain, advise, consult.

There are many theories about the origin of leadership, but generally speaking, the leader is the leader who knows how to make his associates follow him with desire and inner conviction. The leader is the one who inspires people to look ahead, to be proactive, to doom to ideas that go beyond their immediate interests.

Leadership is the ability to influence

Leadership is the ability to influence others, to influence them so that they strive voluntarily and with pleasure to reach group goals. It is a process in which the leader's ability to influence depends on the situation in which the group performs the tasks and on the degree of correspondence between the group and the style, personality, and approach of the leader.

Leadership is a phenomenon of group dynamics, in which as a result of interaction between the members of the group in the performance of a common activity a person rises as an organizer of the team. This promotion is not done by appointment, it is done anonymously, secretly.

It's just that the group tacitly reports and agrees with the leading position of the leader it has broadcast. Therefore, it is necessary to obtain a correspondence between the personal traits of the leader and the values ​​of the group, he is a personified image of the "unifying principle" in it, to be able to understand and formulate the goals of the group and fight for them.

He must be flexible, adaptable, able to take advantage of the situation in the interests of the group. Unlike the exercise of power, leadership is inseparable from the needs and goals of followers. Without them, he cannot be a leader.

Types of leaders

A study of 60 senior executives and 30 executives from lower management levels conducted by the University of South Carolina shows that leaders are characterized by the following characteristics:

It has a personal charm and appeal. Assertive and proactive in imposing views on certain issues. They know how to attract team members to their vision and guidance. They concentrate intensively on achieving the set results.

Purposefulness combined with the ability to communicate with others and bind them to their goals. They suggest trust.

They are confident in their abilities, they have a realistic assessment of themselves. They correctly assess their suitability for the position they hold.

They are success-oriented.

The similarities between the leader and the manager

The similarities between the leader and the manager, in general, come down to the fact that:

Both should try to positively influence everyone to get positive results from the work of the team.

Both manager and leader can be achieved with the necessary knowledge and skills.

Both must be intelligent, smart, think soberly in difficult times, and more.

In summary, the differences between a leader and a manager are as follows:

Managers are well educated

Managers are well educated, work hard, know the "system", tend to develop new rules and methods, and leaders are creative individuals who do not seek to maintain the existing order. Innovators prefer flatter organizational structures.

Managers measure

Managers are convinced that progress is determined by measures aimed at achieving more. They are not calm when the results have to be measured by quality assessments. They focus on short-term results. And leaders strive to apply simple methods aimed at improving efficiency for all subordinates.

Managers cannot work without instructions

Managers believe that they are paid to plan, organize, control. Their activity is based on the presumption that the subordinates are not sufficiently motivated and conscious.

They are not able to work without specific instructions from above. In contrast, leaders have well-formulated and clear goals. They work with their subordinates as equals.

They set higher goals for others. They recognize the talent and motivation of their employees, encourage their activity, and trust them.

Managers are busy

Managers are very busy people and therefore often inaccessible to subordinates. They lose contact with everyday life in their company and with people.

They usually choose several intermediate levels above which they exercise their managerial functions and feel that this is how they maintain contact with their subordinates.

When profits begin to decline, they do their best to reduce costs and tighten control. In such periods, they tend to tell their subordinates what they need to do to overcome the problem. Reference: “Top tips and trends for managers in 2021”, https://www.businesspad.org/top-tips-and-trends-for-managers-in-2021/

Leaders are helpers

Leaders see themselves as helpers and a means of subsistence for the group or company, not as constantly pushing and controlling the actions of subordinates. They rarely use threats as motivators.

Emphasize the overall benefit of achieving the goals. They orient themselves well in the situation and remove unforeseen obstacles. When profits fall, they call for help and look for positive ways out.

Managers are intolerant

Managers are intolerant of their mistakes and those of others. They rarely encourage their subordinates to take greater risks. They usually do not admit their mistakes, nor do they feel obligated to apologize for them.

They believe that crises require them to regain their power and aggressively burden people until they achieve the desired results. They are sensitive to the opinions of others. They strive to please their subordinates and superiors. Reference: Managerspost.com

Leaders are open to their mistakes

And leaders are open to discovering their mistakes and are not afraid to openly take the necessary steps to correct them.

They are not indifferent to the opinion of others about them, but they are less impressed by whether they like them or not. What they value is to be respected by their subordinates.

They are modest, but they are convinced of the importance of their views and their ability to bring them to a successful conclusion. Strictly observe personal ethics. They value their colleagues who are also loyal to them.

Managers are fully committed to joining the organizational system

They often manage to acquire subordinates with the same qualifications, views, and working methods. They require personal involvement and input from their subordinates, but rarely encourage disagreement with their ideas.

Leaders recognize and reward their employees daily for their effective work. Team members know how to handle their tasks. Leaders are often autocrats, but not in the traditional sense. They strive for continuous improvement both in terms of people and work. 

The manager does not always have authority

The manager is officially appointed and may not have authority. Leaders are not appointed but are determined by the people. A leader without authority is not a leader.

Managers reduce public interests to performers, and leaders regulate interpersonal relationships.

Managers have normatively established power, their responsibility is official, the means of influence are obligatory, and the leaders do not rule, but coordinate, only a part of their means of influence are obligatory.

As a means of influence, managers use mainly the formal structure, and leaders influence through informal, human means.

The social status of managers is determined by the formal structure, and the status of the leader is the result of an informal structure.

When the manager is not a leader, the subordinates realize only 60-65% of their abilities, and in the presence of a leader the subordinates realize 100% of their abilities.

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