When i was in the u

When I was in the U.S. Marine Corps, the term “leadership” was taught, explained, and demonstrated almost every minute of the day. I found that the biggest and most important difference between a manager and a leader is the way they motivate people who work for them, or follow them. I find that the traits associated with management and leadership can be very similar but they are definitely not transferrable. In our daily routine, there is a need for both types of individuals and many of you have developed both styles in your personal and professional life.

It has been my experience that if you are a manager you normally have subordinates. These are individuals who have been assigned to your charge by higher authorities within a corporate structure. Managers hold positions of authority that have been given to them by upper level administrators and are assigned a multitude of tasks to accomplish for the betterment of the organization.

Management of the daily routine is a very important function, especially in today’s troubled corporate environment. And let me add, not everyone can be an effective manager. It takes training; perhaps vocational, on-the-job or academic instruction. It also takes a ton of organizational skills, patience, self-confidence, and the ability to efficiently function under some extremely high pressure deadlines. Managers usually are not big risk takers and that’s perfectly alright because the company has tasked them (and their subordinates) with the successful completion of a task for the benefit of the company – nothing more, nothing less. That’s what a manager gets paid to do.

Leaders, on the other hand, normally don’t have subordinates but leaders always have followers. People only follow someone because they want to, not because they are asked or forced to do so. Many corporate leaders have subordinates, but that’s only because they are also managers within the organization. But when these individuals feel the need to lead, they must give up their formal corporate managerial authority, because to lead is to have followers, and following is always a voluntary action – there are no exceptions.

There are all kinds of leaders; some are animated and energetic while some are more reserved. Some people seem to be born to lead while others learn how to lead. Some are charismatic while others are extremely humble but whatever the style; there is always a magnetic appeal to whatever the leader does or asks others to do. Leaders will never ask anyone to do something that they won’t do right along with their team. And although leaders aren’t thrill seekers, willing to do anything to get the job done; they are calculated risk takers and not afraid to do something out of the ordinary in order to successfully complete an assigned task.

Like I said at the beginning, most of us have a touch of both – managerial and leadership traits – within us. This allows us to be organizers when necessary and adapt to changing situations, when required to do so. I have heard a simple explanation concerning the difference between management and leadership style that says “managers do things right, leaders do the right things.”  I believe what this means is that managers are centered on the process of accomplishing tasks while leaders are more visionary and imaginative.  I guess that may be true, but I also believe there are many other factors that must be discussed when we consider the value of each role.

If a company is going to surpass its competitors by becoming more productive and innovative, the proper individuals must be assigned within the leadership and the management makeup of the company.  Both of these functions are important and I think we sometimes give too much credit to the star corporate executive rather than realizing that both the internal leader and his or her management staff/team are needed to assure the ultimate success of a company’s business plan.

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