“Managers do things right, Leaders do the right thing”, “the manager has her eye on the bottom line, the leader has her eye on the horizon”… The more I surf the net, the more I find similar quotes about management and leadership.
As an individual, I tend to dissociate myself from any theory, discussion or idea that aim to determine what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. Does this have a pernicious hold on my potential managerial leadership? Please, let’s get rid of labels!
Exacerbating the two concepts of management and leadership, it almost seems to me that the manager is quite a plodder (best scenario), while the leader is the refined visionary executive, always looking far away to devise strategies. Since no one likes to be “outclassed” to the category of workhorses, might this be the reason why anyone who has any kind of responsibility in a company seems to spend lots of time thinking of improbable strategies, talking of internationalization and dreaming of innovation (please define innovation)?
I often find myself working with other executives in group. Within the group, I can only distinguish between people who actually work for the company and have things done, no matter the time, the issue and the tremendous amount of work still to be done at 2 o’clock at night and people who waste their time complaining, blaming others, wining all the time and so not helpful to the common cause. In such cases, I have never wondered if it was a matter of having to do with managers or leaders. I could certainly say if they were being helpful or not to common cause.
There has been too much writing, talking, discussing about these two roles, so much they lost meaning. At present, while the leader’s role is increasing in popularity (everyone would like to be perceived as a leader) the manager’s role has been increasingly stigmatized. What is more important, perception or reality?
If hiring a visionary, strategic and forward-looking CEO is very cool for your company’s brand image, please make sure to also hire a pragmatic, concrete, right-hand person to have the work done.
As for myself, I would say that I am a teleological unethical professional manager with strong deontological leadership ambitions and yes, I do keep an eye, sometimes two, on the bottom line.