Managers sustain current systems and processes for accomplishing work, while leaders challenge the status quo and make change happen.
Such distinctions may create a negative concept of managers. "Leader" brings to mind heroic figures rallying people together for a cause, while "manager" suggests less charismatic individuals focusing solely on efficiency.
The act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively.
Leaders vs. Managers
The terms "management" and "leadership" have been used interchangeably, yet there are clear similarities and differences between them. Both terms suggest directing the activities of others. In one definition, managers do so by focusing on the organization and performance of tasks and by aiming at efficiency, while leaders engage others by inspiring a shared vision and effectiveness. Managerial work tends to be more transactional, emphasizing processes, coordination, and motivation, while leadership has an emotional appeal, is based on relationships with followers, and seeks to transform.
One traditional way of understanding differences between managers and leaders is that people manage things but lead other people. More concretely, managers administrate and maintain the systems and processes by which work gets done. Their work includes planning, organizing, staffing, leading, directing, and controlling the activities of individuals, teams, or whole organizations for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. Basically, managers are results-oriented problem-solvers with responsibility for day-to-day functions who focus on the immediate, shorter-term needs of an organization.
In contrast, leaders take the long-term view and have responsibility for where a team or organization is heading and what it achieves. They challenge the status quo, make change happen, and work to develop the capabilities of people to contribute to achieving their shared goals. Additionally, leaders act as figureheads for their teams and organizations by representing their vision and values to outsiders. This definition of leadership may create a negative bias against managers as less noble or less important: "Leader" suggests a heroic figure, rallying people to unite under a common cause, while "manager" calls to mind less charismatic individuals who are focused solely on getting things done.