Leaders vs Managers

Leaders and Managers are very different, though some people occasionally get these 2 mixed up. A leader leads with vision and inspires with passion. A manager manages with procedures and ensures compliance. One is not necessarily better than the other, and we need both.

However, problems arise when someone in a leader role works as a manager. When someone is supposed to motivates and inspires other members to get them to do great work, but then turns into a manager to make sure everything goes according to some standards, there are frustrations.

From the members’ standpoint, frustration comes from not being able to make their own decisions about their own projects. Frustration also comes from having projects imposed on oneself and thus they are not motivated to own up.

From the leader/manager standpoint, it is very hard to be visionary and thinking ahead while being busy with the little nitty tasks of all projects on the go. It was easy in the leader role to get members to do work, but then when the manager’s hat is put on, it becomes extremely hard to let go of projects once assigned to somebody else.

Setting up boundaries is the solution. There is a clear line between leading and managing. As a leader, ultimately the project is owned up by the project leader, not the organization’s leader. Critical decisions should be made by the project leader in consultation with the organization’s leader. The organization’s leader should be directing to the right direction, not managing so it will be done.

Human’s tendency is to hold on and to control. The process of letting go of control is by nature terrifying. However, getting comfortable with giving up control is the way to lead successfully.

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