This is far from being a new subject, the comparison between manager and leader is something that’s been discussed for quite a while now.
Still, here below is my personal comparison/preference:
- Power given officially: The manager is an official role that has power associated with it which people understand. Therefore, people must follow the manager;
- Follows process: The manager will make sure process are followed by the team;
- One of many: Many managers share the same types of personalities, skills, experience, making them many capable of being in the same position;
- Focused on short-term: Managers will focus on what needs to be done right now to have results to report right away;
- Will follow the way things are: The manager will accept, and follow the way things are, making sure everything runs smoothly as they are;
- Doesn’t take risks: Generally doesn’t go towards risk, and will work more inside a comfort zone;
- Typically more respected by upper management who want things to run smoothly, or by people who love their routine.
- Power not given officially: A leader’s power is not given by anyone other than by peers that decide to follow the leader;
- Follows what needs to be done: The leader will want to aim towards getting things done, regardless if it follows process or not;
- An exception: A leader is generally different, it’s hard to find others that are the same;
- Focused on long-term: The leader has a vision, and will work hard today for the days to come;
- Will challenge everything: Unsatisfied by the way things are if they can be different for the benefit of people. He will challenge, and adjust everything;
- Takes risks: Ironically uncomfortable inside his comfort zone, taking risks and trying new things;
- Typically more respected by people who want things to change for the better.
So which one is better?
Neither. I always think a good balance of everything is the best. If you are too much of a manager and not a leader; people will only follow you because they are forced to, and you won’t get things to happen. If you are the other way around, you may go outside what’s accepted/tolerated, and your attitude may be completely rejected.
By being both, you make sure everything gets done the right away, all the while making sure everything is going towards the right path. People will want to follow you regardless of if they “have” to follow you because of your role.