Managers and leaders

Ellis Orlan, BA, CPA, SF Partnership LLP, Toronto, ON, CYBF Mentor,

As Bernard Bass states, “Leaders manage and managers lead, but the two activities are not synonymous…Management functions can potentially provide leadership; leadership activities can contribute to managing. Nevertheless, some managers do not lead and some leaders do not manage.”

Managing and leading can overlap, but they are not the same. The biggest difference between managers and leaders is the way they motivate the people who work for or follow them and this sets the tone for most other aspects of what they do.

Typically, leaders engage in the ‘higher’ functions of running an organization, while managers handle the everyday tasks. Successful and effective leaders and managers must do a lot of the same things. They both need to set direction for employees and the organization, motivate people, develop good working relationships, be positive role models and focus on goals.

So, one may ask, what is the real difference? Interestingly, there does not appear to be any sort of consensus among the various leadership/management gurus. ‘Management’ departments of leading business schools and organizational psychologists/sociologists will often focus on both.

I believe it’s important not to get caught up in the semantics. Good leadership and good management are important and often necessary for entrepreneurs.

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