Leadership and management…the two terms are often used interchangeably and become confused and substituted for the other. If you are aspiring towards a leadership role as your career goal, it’s important to understand the key differences between leaders and managers (yes, they’re not essentially the same), so you can make an informed decision and know how to structure your professional development efforts towards your long-term goal.
Let’s begin by understanding what leaders are, and are not.
What Is The Role Of A Leader?
Leaders set the overall vision for an organization. At the highest level, they formulate long-term strategies and plans to achieve that vision and operate with a birds-eye view of operations. They are usually not involved in the fine day-to-day details, but keep an eye on the market and evolving trends, and stay abreast with the industry and context they operate in so the organization can be more effective in its collective efforts.
Leaders must always plan ahead, and think about risk, public perception, and most importantly, communicating the vision to their teams so it can be translated into everyday practice. They rally the entire organization to get on board with their ideas and motivate them, and even external partners and stakeholders, towards a shared goal. Leaders are commonly responsible for outlining an organization’s core values, policies, and ethics, and pass this down to the next set of people in charge to implement with their teams…managers.