The concepts of leadership and management are always identical, but many people do not quite understand the essence of their differences. There is no mystical or mysterious in leadership; it is not the privilege of a narrow circle of the elite. In fact, leadership and management in a company are two separate complementary systems of action. This paper aims to provide an overview of both roles, compare them, and state which one I aspire and why.
Personally, I would definitely prefer to be a leader rather than a manager. First of all, the primary function of a leader is to be an agent of change, and the ability to create enthusiasm in people becomes key. Thus, leaders help to overcome the inevitable barriers to organizational restructuring. The choice of a strategic course determines the course of development, and the ability to persuade people to become allies prompts them to take this path consciously (Goleman). In this way, a leader truly has the power to influence and change things.
Moreover, I like that leaders can motivate and inspire people. The right motivation gives people confidence that they have enough strength to overcome all obstacles. Thus, I share leaders’ call to satisfy the desire for achievement, the need to feel involved in a common cause and self-respect, and the desire for recognition from society (Goleman). This ability reflects my professional and personal life objectives and corresponds to how I would want to make a difference.
Managers are slightly different in this sense as their primary function is focused on formal regulation and control. To successfully manage complex structures, a company manager first carries out planning and budgeting. In other words, they set goals for the future of the company, define in detail the stages on the way to achieving them, and then allocate resources for the implementation of these plans. At the same time, leaders are called upon to make constructive changes in the organization. Their work begins with determining the course of development and a vision (Goleman). Furthermore, they create the desired image of the company in the future and develop strategies for implementing the measures necessary to translate this image into life.
To monitor the plan’s implementation, the manager resorts to monitoring and solving the problem – they compare the resulting indicators with the planned ones in every detail, identify deviations, and then again deal with planning and organization, taking into account the shortcomings already revealed. As for the leader, implementing the impeccable image requires them to maintain enthusiasm and motivation in their supporters. Leaders must ensure that, despite severe obstacles, people do not stray from the path that leads them to a new future (Goleman). In doing so, the leader must appeal to vital, albeit often unconscious, human needs, emotions, and values.
Overall, if an organization wants to be successful in today’s environment, it needs both managers and leaders. I certainly aspire to be a leader rather than a manager since empowering people reflects my age-long ambition and my personal strengths. Meanwhile, the function of a manager, albeit important, is more preoccupied with the practical aspects of an organization. I genuinely admire such great leaders as Musk, Gates, or Jobs. When starting their path, all of them believed in their ideas and were able to inspire and empower people who followed them.
Goleman, Daniel. What makes a leader? Routledge, 2018.