Managers and leaders

Presently there have been lots of discussions and the most researched topic is to find out similarities and differences of managers and leaders. Management and leadership are two different ideas that are used interchangeably. However, these two words actually are two different domains or concepts. Before saying what we need and whose role is crucial in organization's success, we should demystify the term manager and leader. It is desirable in manager that he/she has capability to perform both role effectively in balance way for the betterment of the organization as well as of employee and society.

In the well managed organization, there are well defined plans, organized structures, systems and processes so that it operates effectively and efficiently. In such case, internal environment of the organization is controlled. Therefore staffs are able to carry out activities, monitor and evaluate the results. But the organization needs to cope with external environment which is dynamic in nature.

In dynamic environmental context, the condition are changing rapidly, situations are complex and interconnected therefore managers must do more than applying and following traditional management function to ensure results in all circumstances. In the well led organization, staffs are motivated and committed to innovation to adapt the changes in environment. Initially for the survival and in later stage for sustained performance of the organization both good management and good leadership are necessary. Managers must also lead the team that enables every staffs to face strategic challenges on achieving sustainable results for customer satisfaction.

From traditional view point manager is to maximize the output of the organization through administrating and undertaking these functions: planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling. The planning function of managers is ongoing process to achieve intended goal by developing business mission and objectives and defining set of actions. Mangers distribute authority to job holders and establish the internal organizational structure. Organizing function is focused on coordination, control of task, flow of information within the organization. Good mangers recruit qualified people in all positions in the organizations. Managers always direct their people and try to shape their behavior through motivation, communication; group dynamics meanwhile they also control people's actions to accomplish the organization's mission and objectives.

Experts opinioned that the major functions performed by effective leaders at all level are scanning, focusing, inspiring, aligning and mobilizing. Good leader continually look over the internal and external environment to recognize changing customer need, strategic challenges that the organization is facing and the available resources to address. Leaders are focused on critical challenges and the strategy to address it in group's interest. Leaders priorities the work and align all the employees, resources, structures, processes and coordinate them to address the work group's strategic challenges by ensuring the effectiveness of employees activities. Leaders inspire others by developing healthy work climate where everyone feel they are learning, using their potential and innovation for betterment of self and producing desired result for organization.

A vary common definition we frequently hear is that managers do things right and leaders do the right things. Managers do things by following company rules and regulation systematically while leaders follow their own intuition, both skill in different time frame are desirable which may in turn be of more benefit to the organization. From the definition management is getting things done by others. For it managers have to motivate people to do things well for desired results. In surface, managerial functions and leadership functions seems similar. For example managerial planning function can be compared with leadership visionary function and directing and motivating function to inspiring function. If we analyze it deeply we'll find there are other differences too in managers and leaders. Warren Bennis; leadership professor and author, compared managers and leaders in his book learning to lead. He differentiate it as follows:

Steve Sphar, leadership consultant working with managers to make them more productive agrees that management and leadership are different things but those are equally essential in organization. He further explained that management as a part of traditional system do things in very strict manner by following systems and structures based on available data. Managers have short range view as they are target oriented and focused on achieving it quarterly basis. Their role is to maintain previous good practices and replicate it with update for tomorrow. On the other hand leaders have to see on horizon to know changes in external environment such as customer preferences or further business expansion and change the business accordingly to cope with it. Managers are tactical they play with numbers while leaders are creative and visionary they can see what will come in future and act on it. With only strong players in each role firm can carefully establish its short term and long term goal. In organization with their visionary skill leaders point the business a direction and managers involve the people to get it by breaking down the task and authority. Building a culture or productivity or innovation it requires vision to understand market dynamics at utmost and involving people by inspiring them towards organizational change. Once the vision is set, to continue reinforcing the culture for productivity managerial role should be in place.

It is considered that managerial skills and leadership skills are functions of right brain and left brain. It is difficult to trace out which brain human need most and whose function is important in human life. Similarly, it is difficult in organizational context which skill is important

Case Study- Sony Corporation

After appointing as a chairman CEO Howard Stringer faced a problem that operating margin of electronic division were showing negative growth. Sony's product segment were also overwhelmed with problems. The company was losing its market share of television with Sharp, Walkman with Apple iPod and Play Station game with Microsoft's X-box. Stringer realized that in electronic industry other competitors are threatening Sony by their low price. In order to be in business he firstly reduced operating cost by cutting down 10,000 jobs, closed down 11 out of 65 production facilities worldwide. After that he understood the need of new projects and strategies to make Sony more relevant to digital age consumers. The major goal of his restructuring plan was to make electronics more profitable by making gadgets and content work together effectively so that to gain consumers confidence on paying premium price. With his vision, he aliened his other physical resources and talent of his employees to give customers new and demanded product. As a result Sony was the first to make the television featuring computer monitor with internet access. The system and process was already in place but the Sony was loosing with its competitors. If stringer had only showed his management skill the performance of the Sony could have been worst. Due to his leadership and management skill Sony regained its lost image and saved it from company downfall.

A simple definition that you'll hear frequently is that managers do things right, leaders do the right things

Though seems managerial skill and leadership skills are same because one of the managerial function is to motivate people to get things done. managers, there are lots of differences between managers and leaders.

bMost leaders are not focused on the short-term. Managers are generally focused quarter by quarter. Again, leaders are looking over the horizon, constantly interested in what comes next. Managers are very tactical, interested in next quarter's numbers. Without strong players in both roles, a firm is not carefully considering its short and long term health.

While leading mangers need to support his/her staff in questioning assumptions, altering beliefs and changing ways of working to overcome obstacles that would otherwise undermine the quality of the services their organization provides to clients.

We have frequently heard that managers do things right, leaders do the right things because managers are process oriented while leaders are more visionary.

A simple definition that you'll hear frequently is that managers do things right, leaders do the right things. What this means is that managers are process oriented while leaders are more visionary. I guess that's true enough, but I think several other factors come into play when considering the importance of each role.

There is a lot of discussion today about the similarities and differences between managers and leaders. The truth is, from my perspective, they are different but you need both. The key, however, is where leaders and managers are placed in the organization.

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