The Leader – the key to success or failure

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone ask whats the difference between being a leader and being a manager.  I basically reply – Leaders lead organizations while Managers manage processes.

Many times I’m asked to elaborate, so I have to break my explanation down a little more.  I’ll explain Leaders provide the vision, philosophy and standards of the organization. They also set the example by practicing what he or she preaches.  A managers will focus on following the business processes. They aren’t necessarily worried about the people that work for him/her.

Other identifiers of leaders and managers

  • Leaders will set the goals while the manager will focus on their attainment.
  • A Leader will look to earn the respect of the work force while the manager is focused on where they sit in the Org chart.
  • Leaders develop their workers to build depth and future leaders for the organization.  The manager will be threatened by competition.
  • Exceptional leaders look to create a climate of innovation and achievement. The manger will just wish to focus on his/her own process.
  • Finally, great leaders will create a culture of accountability by accepting responsibility for all that happens or fails to happen while managers will blame others for short comings.