The Business Leader versus the Manager

published in: Leader

19 Oct
2009

What is the difference between business leader and manager?
Which is preferable: manager or business leader?
Let’s look into the definition of a business leader and into the definition of a manager.

 

Definition of a manager
 
The manager is a man with legal power in the official organizational structure, who has been employed to plan, organize, direct, measure and control the work of a group of individuals towards a pre-defined goal. Managers deal predominantly with non-behavioral issues.
 
The semantic of “manager” is directing, commanding people.
 
 
 
Difference between
MANAGER AND LEADER
 
Issues
Business Leader
Manager
Planning
Yes
Yes
Organizing
Yes
Yes
Directing
Yes
Yes
Measuring
Yes
Yes
Controlling
Yes
Yes
Legal power
?
Yes
Charisma
Yes
?
Ethics power
Yes
?
Praise power
?
?
Legend:
         ?not mandatory
 
The combination of the four, marked in blue traits, determine the great leader, who is able to lead the people both to good and to bad.
Definition of a leader
 
The leader is a person with a clear vision and successors. 
 
Originally leader emerged as a term defining the head of a political party.
 
Leader’s personality, his value system and personal example determine the uniqueness of the leader.   May be that uniqueness is the reason for the limited number of definitions of the term “leader”. Even in Longman Dictionary of Business English, second revised edition 1989, you will find no definition about leader and business leader.
 
 
Definition of a business leader
 
The business leader has the responsibilities of a manager, but also possesses the skills to create challenging goals and to inspire his team members to achieve them. As a leader, you should be involved with visioning, inspiring, coaching, energizing, and empowering. Business leaders should deal predominantly with behavioral issues. Leaders emerge within the context of the informal organization that underlies the formal structure.
 
 
Business leader vs manager – two examples
 
A manager would set the task to his department approximately:”…our target for the next quarter is turnover of usd 500 000.”
 
A business leader would approach his team:”…there are 6 competitors on our market…our goal for the next quarter is to be No.1 or No.2 on the turnover criteria.  Do you think we can handle this challenge and how?”.  But it is also very important how he will do it – with passion, confidence…(let’s not forget that every leader is unique and so is his team inspiration style).  But even more important is what actions he will undertake towards reaching the goal, what personal example he will set on this concrete occasion.
 
 
Business leaders vs managers – conclusion
 
Often the press uses the two terms as synonyms.  That is probably because many managers has some leadership skills and duties and many business leaders execute merely manager’s functions.  But we have found significant differences between manager and business leader.
 
Many would like only business leaders, or at least potential business leaders, to work in the company.  However, leaders create successors.  Therefore, the business leaders will always be a minority in each organization.  Most of the followers do not have the potential to grow.  Their power and value is in being capable, reliable successors.  Everyone has his high value, but on the right place and in the right time.  The manager without leadership skills, for instance, is irreplaceable in situations of closing or downsizing the business and reducing the human resources.  Put a business leader in such situation and he will fade as leaders are born to create, to inspire, to grow the business…
 
Both, the business leader and the manager have their important role in the contemporary business life. Manager and business leaders are different. Between business leader and manager, however, a fruitful cooperation must be established for the sake of company’s success.
 
MANAGERS
GAIN - SYNERGY
LEADERS
Focus on systems
»   Top organization   «
 Focus on people
Accept status-quo
»     Improvement      «
Challenge status quo
Secure resources
»    Empowerment      «
   Create vision
Do things right
»      Effectiveness      «
Do the right things
Coordinate
»        Teamwork        «
Inspire
Reduce risk
»       High results       «
Seize opportunities
Maintain
»           Growth          «
Develop
 
Table: Differences and synergy of managers and business leaders
 
With the evolution of the business relationships, nowadays, being good manager is no longer sufficient for great success.  You need to integrate both - manager’s role and business leader’s role - to achieve organizational success.  As a manager you have to get the job done, and as a business leader you must focus on the people who are doing the job.  Pick one of the two – manager or business leader – who suits best your personality. 
 
Confucius said 2500 years ago: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!”
 

 

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