Are You A Leader Or Merely A Manager?


“There is a difference between leadership and management. Leadership is of the spirit, management is of the mind. Managers are necessary, but leaders are essential. We must find managers who are not only skilled organisers, but inspired and inspiring leaders.”Field Marshal William Joseph "Bill"Slim"

You can buy someone’s physical presence, but you cannot buy loyalty, enthusiasm or devotion. These you must earn. Successful organisations have leaders who focus on the future rather than cling to the past.

Leaders bring out the best in people. They spend time developing people into leaders.

Here are the qualities of a leader:

  • Leaders have a clear vision of what they are working towards. They don’t keep their vision a secret - they communicate it to their people.

  • Leaders are consistent. They keep their principles and values at all times.

  • Leaders can and will do what they expect of others. They are prepared to walk the talk.

  • Leaders are not threatened by competence. They enjoy promoting people and are quick to give credit to those who have earned it.

  • Leaders enjoy developing their people into leaders, not followers. They train people to take on more challenging tasks and responsibilities. They develop peoples confidence.

  • Leaders don’t betray trust. They can treat confidential information professionally.

  • Leaders are concerned about getting things done. They don’t get embroiled in political infighting, gossip and backstabbing. They encourage those around them to do likewise.

  • Leaders confront issues as they arise. They do not procrastinate. If something needs fixing, they do it right away, even if it is uncomfortable. The longer things are left, the more difficult they become.

  • Leaders let people know how they are doing. They reward and recognise performance that is above expectations and they help people identify ways of improving poor performance.

  • Leaders are flexible. They welcome change. They do not stick to an old position simply because it is more comfortable.

  • Leaders are adaptable. They see change as an opportunity rather than a threat.

  • Leaders are human. They make mistakes. When they do so, they readily admit it.

  • Leaders reflect on and learn from their mistakes. They see errors as a chance to improve their skills.

  • Leaders enjoy challenge. They are prepared to take risks and encourage others to do likewise. If they fail, they treat the exercise as a learning experience.

  • Leaders focus on the future, not the past. They anticipate trends and prepare for them. They develop a vision for their team and communicate it to them.

  • Leaders are open to new ideas. They demonstrate their receptiveness by supporting change.

  • Leaders treat staff as individuals. They give closer attention to those that need it and lots of space to those that deserve it.

  • Leaders encourage and reward co-operation within and between teams.

Team Leadership:

  • Leaders develop guidelines with their team. They constantly enlarge the guidelines as the team becomes willing to accept more responsibility.

  • Leaders change their role according to the demands of the team. For example, they become more of a coach or facilitator.

  • Leaders listen to their team members.

  • Leaders involve people in finding new ways to achieve agreed-upon goals.

  • Leaders create the opportunity for group participation and recognise that only team members can make the choice to participate.


Characteristics of Management:

  • Not Emotional

  • Tells

  • Talks

  • Expects Less

  • Trusts Difficult

  • Calming

  • Knows the Answers

  • Tells How

  • Directs – Has Subordinates

  • Sees Details

  • Systems Centred

  • How and Why

  • Maintains Controls

  • Stands Apart

  • Goals/Plans

The Characteristics of Leadership:

  • Passionate Visionary

  • Asks

  • Listens

  • Encourages More

  • Trusts Easy

  • Enthusiastic

  • Open To Suggestions

  • Shares Why

  • Points the Way

  • Has Followers

  • Sees Overall View

  • People Centred

  • What and Why

  • Originates

  • Inspires

  • Seeks Company

  • Identity/Values

Managers – Doing the Job Right

  • Good Soldier

  • Eyes on Bottom Line

  • Aims for Security

  • Structured

  • Accepts the Status Quo

Leaders – Doing the Right Job:

  • Own Person

  • Eyes on Horizon

  • Enjoys Change

  • Flexible

  • Challenges the Status Quo

In Summary:

Without managers the visions of leaders remain dreams. Leaders need managers to convert visions into realities. For continuous success, organisations need both managers and leaders; however, as most seem to be over-managed and under-led, they need to find ways of having both at the same time. Perhaps the best way to handle this paradox is for managers to aim to be managers when viewed from above, leaders when viewed from below and to remember that the need for leadership grows as we move up the organisation. This is only one of the challenges that can make working life fun

source -Jonathan Farrington