What Is The Difference Between A Leader And A Manager?

4/14/2015

In the past, leaders and managers within an organization had separate and differentiated roles and goals. The leaders would be the strategists, the innovators and the long-term thinkers who would make decisions and then pass down orders to the manager. The managers, on the other hand, would delegate tasks among team members, track the results and ensure that the job got done according to the leader’s goals.

However, today’s economy is built more around knowledge and skill, making it more equality-oriented and “democratic” than the economy of yesteryear. Managers with critical thinking skills, a strategic mindset and an innovative edge do better in this economy, and they are often given more freedom by their companies to propose ideas and carry them through. That means that leaders and managers now have more in common than they did in the past. These days, managers often possess the leadership skills that only leaders would have had in yesterday’s economy.

So, for example, managers today will empower their subordinates to think outside the box, come up with novel solutions and help plan strategy. Today’s managers provide development plans for employees, inspiring them to fulfil personal and organizational goals, and they nurture skills and help individual employees grow into their specific strengths.

Managers still must carry out the managerial tasks of yore, such as assigning work, but they also take up the leadership mantle, by empowering employees, defining their purpose, and essentially lead them toward the company’s goal.  

Today’s economic structure is more “flat” and equality-based than ever before. Managers now have a chance to lead, which benefits them, their subordinates, and their companies as a whole.  

Ken Belanger