Little Wonders | Home Base | Home Tech | Home Solutions | Reminder 

Management is no substitute for leadership, nor is leadership a substitute for management — they are complementary.
Are You A Manager Or A Leader?

So what’s the difference?

The following definitions are a good starting point:

The Manager: The manager is responsible for activities such as planning, budgeting, organising and coordinating tasks and activities within and across the organisation. Managers also manage the performance of others, ensuring people achieve goals and results. The way they do this depends on the nature of the work being done.

The Leader: The leader is more externally focused. Leaders search for order in the uncertainty and unpredictability of change and progress, and in that order see opportunities. They communicate those opportunities and in doing so, ensure that the organisation changes and readies itself to take advantage of the opportunities. This can create uncertainty within the organisation. Leaders absorb this uncertainty by listening and reacting to what people are feeling and saying. They communicate with compassion, showing respect and understanding. In doing this, they set and communicate directions. Their actions articulate the culture and values of the organisation. Therefore, one without the other is insufficient. Strong leadership without management leads to chaos; management without leadership breeds bureaucracy.

Complementary Connections
A manager A leader
Administers Innovates
Maintains Develops
Accepts reality Investigates reality
Focuses on systems and structures Focuses on people
Has a short-range view Has a long-range view
Asks how and when Asks what and why
Has his eyes on the bottom line Has his eyes on the horizon
Accepts the status quo Challenges the status quo
Imitates Originates
Relies on control Relies on trust
Is a classic good soldier Is his own person

All companies strive for a unique value proposition and unique sources of competitive advantage. They define opportunities and determine how to take advantage of those opportunities in their own unique way. Companies also have leadership requirements that are rooted in their business strategies and potential challenges in executing these strategies.

The following are typical examples of the expectations a company might have of its leaders:

Leaders are responsible for creating long-term values. They manage the finances of the business. This requires a mindset that looks beyond shorter-term revenue and profit gains to the ongoing financial development of the company. Leaders know the markets and industries in which the company does business, and how it does business in those markets and industries. Leaders can observe and interpret their environment — both internal and external — and identify business opportunities. This involves looking for, and being sensitive to, patterns and relationships between apparently unconnected events, as well as continually looking for new and different interpretations. The ability to do these things generates opportunities. Leaders will identify and partner with the right customers — those who contribute to the company’s long-term growth — and commit to the highest levels of satisfaction among those customers. Identifying the right customers is about being able to foresee long-term partnerships that are profitable.

Leaders must plan how to conduct their business, considering factors such as the impact on company finances, how the company appears to customers, and implications for resources and knowledge management. Leaders model the company’s value. For example, a company with a branch structure may be built around the idea of shared resources — knowledge, best practices, customer and market information would be critical. Leaders can make this happen. Leaders can align individual development goals with the development and learning needs of the company. They should cultivate a learning culture, which encourages the company’s people to keep up to date professionally and in terms of their knowledge of the company’s business.

As important as the employer’s gruelling demands, leaders also have to take into consideration the fact that a large number of employees also have expectations of them. When the employer’s expectations are met, the leader can expect to be rewarded financially. When the employee’s expectations are met, the leader can expect a reward in the form of enhanced credibility. And when a leader is seen as more credible by those he or she leads, leadership effectiveness will be given a boost.

Following are some of the qualities employees appreciate (though not necessarily expect) in their leaders: trustworthiness, fairness, unassuming, listening skills, openminded and broadminded, sensitive to people, taking initiatives, decision-making capabilities.

The task of balancing the needs of employers and employees places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of a company’s leaders. The very qualities that can lead to success in a leader’s first few leadership assignments can be those that lead to failure in more senior and more complex leadership assignments. There are a few reasons for this: success in an earlier assignment — either, for example, because of demonstrated intelligence or technical ability, impressive results, a commitment to action, a commitment to the organisation’s success, an exceptional ability with people, or because of all or some of these factors — will usually lead to rapid promotion or a more challenging assignment. Self-esteem and confidence increase. At these times, an organisation — the superiors of the up-and-coming leader — are likely to overlook any flaws.

At the same time, qualities that led to success earlier may be the very ones that hinder success later. Brilliance, for example, can be intimidating to others, or can contribute to poor listening skills. Over-commitment can lead to a loss of perspective and burnout. Analytical thinking can lead to “analysis paralysis” and indecisiveness. Integrity can be perceived as zealotry or rigidity. Results and action orientation can be perceived as recklessness and being dictatorial. Being good with people can lead to softness and an inability to make tough people-related decisions. Innovation can lead to spending too much time and money on unrealistic or impractical projects and ideas. And customer focus can undermine innovative thinking, can blur the focus on cost control and can lead to making unrealistic commitments.

Courtesy: Hewitt Quarterly Asia Pacific.
in The Indian Express dated 27th June, 2002.



The story of the first meeting between Hillary Rodham and Bill Clinton at the law school library became a kind of political celebrity folk tale, often repeated during the 1992 presidential race. As another student tries in vain to persuade Bill to join the stodgy law review, he is staring down the long reading room at Hillary. Eventually she gets up, walks all the way to where they are standing, and says drily, “Look, if you’re going to keep staring at me and I’m going to keep staring back, I think we should at least know each other. I’m Hillary Rodham. What’s your name?” It is a line, Martha Sherrill later wrote, “worthy of Lauren Bacall”. In Clinton’s own version, it leaves him uncharacteristically speechless, grappling for his own name.

In terms of both the private turmoil and public gravity of the relationship that followed, the charm of the story was less revealing than the roles of the two people at the moment. The young woman of studied plainness, always proving her seriousness, is in effect picking up the tall, handsome, story-spinning Southerner she has unavoidably noticed around the campus. He, who has been tirelessly selling himself like Hope watermelons to everyone for years, suddenly finds himself the customer. As the two of them described it later with obvious candour, both fell in love with the unexpected — or at least the novelty in their own felt experiences. “He wasn’t afraid of me,” she would explain. “I could just look at her and tell she was interesting and deep,” he told one writer.

Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America
By Roger Morris
Published by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., New York