Leadership and management are two huge buzz words in contemporary business. Leaders and managers are not synonymous, filling different purposes. Both are needed for an enterprise to succeed.
Defining Leaders and Managers
In general, leaders are the ones responsible for initiating change and coming up with ideas. They break rules and point businesses in new directions with a distinct vision, even if they aren’t certain how they’re going to reach the point they want to get to. Managers, by contrast, work to control resources, including people, under certain constraints so that goals are achieved. They might not come up with a ton of ideas, but they keep people accountable and make the logistical decisions that drive companies toward the established vision. There is often overlap between leaders and mangers, but not everyone will have the dual skill set necessary to serve in both capacities and, therefore, some individuals are better suited for one position instead of the other.
When You Don’t Have a Leader
Consumers are constantly shifting what they prefer and want – that is, the market in any given industry is never static. The challenge for businesses is to recognize consumer preferences and to meet current demand. This is why innovation is so critical. It allows companies to gain the attention of buyers and fill the pressing needs they have. A leader is the primary source of innovation in the corporate environment. Without a leader, a business no longer can respond to the market with ease, because there are fewer ideas.
When You Don’t Have a Manager
Having a clear direction alone is not enough to get to a new place. You might know you want to go across town, for example, but until you decide whether you’ll drive, walk or take the subway or bus, you’re not going to cover much ground. In the same way, businesses need to have a clear plan of action and set of rules for how they move forward in order to make any progress. It is the manager who establishes those plans and rules. Without him, resources are easily misallocated or left unnecessarily idle, and conflicts run rampant because there is no unified protocol or way of doing business. Ultimately, this makes the enterprise less stable, even if the goals leaders set are incredible and worthy of attention.
Keeping the Roles Distinct
It is possible for a single person to be both a leader and a manager in a business. Even so, it can be beneficial to keep the roles more separate. When leaders have to take on managerial responsibilities, some of the time and energy they could have spent examining the market and coming up with new concepts, products or systems has to get redirected to logistics. With fewer ideas generated, the company’s odds of success usually go down. Similarly, when managers are charged with leadership duties, they cannot focus entirely on the resources available. It becomes easier for things to become less efficient as a result. A lack of efficiency often translates to higher costs, which can put the business in jeopardy just as much as a lack of creativity.
Leaders and managers are very different in terms of how they function in a business. Without good leadership, companies have a much harder time staying competitive, because it’s harder to come up with the ideas that fill consumer demands. Without good management, businesses can be plagued with stagnancy and conflict, and financial stability can suffer. Both leaders and managers, therefore, are necessary in an enterprise. Although it is possible for one person to work in both capacities, there are benefits to being able to focus on just one.
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