Managers vs. Leaders
By Ken Blanchard and Drea Zigarmi
You may think of the words “manager” and “leader” as two concepts representing opposite ends of a continuum. The term manager typifies the more structured, controlled, analytical, orderly, and rule-oriented end of the continuum. The leader end of the continuum connotes a more experimental, visionary, unstructured, flexible, and impassioned side. Managers and leaders are not the same. They think differently internally, and behave differently externally.
In truth, leaders and managers tend to see different aspects of work and organizational life as important, and therefore, worthy of their time. They tend to treat people differently, and they spontaneously react to others differently. They tend to allow their people to have different focuses, and to limit their people in different ways. You can understand why these differences result in varied organizational cultures and, finally, why different reactions result from those who are being led (depending on the follower’s disposition and point of view).
Leadership is defined as the act of arousing, engaging, and satisfying the motives of followers-in an environment of conflict, competition, or change-that results in the followers taking a course of action toward a mutually shared vision. You cannot effectively lead if you do not know your values. Understanding your values gives you insight about others. Values-based activity is the basis for commitment—yours and others’. Too many organizations, because of the lack of leadership, require the followers’ mind and muscle, but not their hearts. This requires the followers’ focused activity, but does not engage the followers’ purpose. Organizational life, because of a lack of leadership, does not integrate the followers’ deeper core beliefs with the work they are asked to do.
Remember, leadership style is the pattern of influence you use with others, over time, as perceived by them. Also recall that directive behaviors in a one-to-one context are as follows:
- Setting goals
- Planning work in advance
- Defining timelines
- Specifying priorities
- Determining methods of evaluation
- Defining roles and decision-making prerogatives
- Showing and telling how outcomes will be accomplished
Supportive behaviors in a one-to-one context have been described as follows:
- Praising and encouraging
- Asking for input
- Sharing information about the total organization’s operation
- Sharing information about self
- Facilitating the problem-solving of others
- Providing rationale
You can more about managers vs. leaders in The Leader Within