Good Leader vs Good Manager

Forums Member Forum Good Leader vs Good Manager

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Joe Jeffrey 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #2609


    I would like to continue our conversation about “what makes a good leader vs what makes a good manager”. What would be an appropriate PCF for good leader and what would be one for a good manager. My thinking would be to use Bezos (Amazon) as a “good leader” and CEO of a coal mining industry as a “good manager”. The point I’m discussing is that leading and leadership deals with innovation whereas management deals with effective implementation. What are your thoughts on this? Can you help me expand on this?

  • #2749

    Jane Littmann

    I don’t think the distinction is anchored in the type of business, but I see why the businesses you suggest might connote ground-breaking innovation vs outdated obsolete commercial enterprise, though there are constantly impressive innovations being made in both. (Having recently toured one of the largest coal producing mines in the US for several hours, one could argue that to lead in that industry, in a political climate opposed to their efforts, requires particularly good leadership to maintain jobs, demand, etc.)

    While I’m not familiar with the literature, my quick impression is that there is a lot of overlap in the terms Leader and Manager, and that a CEO’s position entails both, with variations according to how their particular organization and position are structured. Both involve being in charge, being the head, overseeing and supervising, making the organization or department function well, directing others, being the responsible boss of the operation. The distinction of Leadership entails Followership. To lead is to get people to follow, to fall in line behind, to provide/ establish a direction of where the group is going. This may be a good or bad direction, but the leader is effective if others are following in that direction. Organizationally, management and leadership are generally intertwined, as a manager is in charge of getting whatever component or whole business they are managing to operate effectively. The managerial aspect seems to highlight the administrative focus on doing the task at hand (getting it done) with sufficient coordination and competence that the component or organization operates adequately or well. The leadership aspect highlights the goal, direction, mission, vision, purpose, significance, and typically inspires or adds motivation to follow the leadership in the direction provided.

    This seems to fit with the synonyms and definitions I found.

    Leader: Front-runner, spearhead, trailblazer, head, manager, organizer, principal, chief, boss, director, guide, mentor, guru, adviser, superior, kingpin, person in charge, top dog. Somebody whom people follow- somebody who guides or directs others. Somebody or something in the lead- somebody or something in front of all the others, e.g. in a race or procession. Somebody in charge of others. The head of a nation, political party, legislative body, or military unit. Musical conductor. Principal musician. (And other more specialized meanings.)

    Manager: Boss, director, executive, administrator, supervisor, leader, chief, superior. Organizer of business. Somebody who is responsible for directing and controlling the work and staff of a business, or of a department within it. Competent handler- Somebody who handles or controls something, especially somebody who works skillfully. A computer program for basic computer operations, etc.


  • #2855

    C.J. Stone

    Practically, I think it would be a good first step to establish the paradigm case for both types: a leader that anyone would say is a leader, but not necessarily a manager; a manager that anyone would say is a manager, but not necessarily a leader. With those two cases, you can get a PA or a PCF going, and when you feel like you’re close to done, you can compare the two and see if they are the same thing with different parameters. If so, then either one is the superclass of the other, or the two have a superclass that’s to be discovered.

    I anticipate the former because, in my experience, management done wrong is lacking a certain amount of leadership. For instance, managers are reviewed on an entirely different set of criteria than their workers, so it’s reasonable for them to ask the workers to do things that make the manager look shiny. Unfortunately, shining up the manager usually takes time away from real work, and if the manager becomes a martinet about the shining, the work environment becomes intolerable for the workers (who really just want to work). Thus, a manager might take a hit in its review so the workers can be more productive, and so on; but that kind of sacrifice is more the behavior of a leader. Similarly, a manager might protect the workers from demands made by the manager’s superiors for the same reasons, and take the same kind of hit. Etc.

    But we’re philosophizing. Get your paradigm cases and get moving.

  • #2988

    Erol Zeybekoglu

    PCF of a Good Leader:

    Person GL enacting a behavior that is considered by other members of a shared group to be beneficial to the group as a whole, which also results in an increased practice of that behavior and adoption or enhancement of said behavior as a shared social practice of the group.

  • #4586

    Joe Jeffrey

    Just stumbled on this forum.

    I had two thoughts. The first is to starts at a more basic level: let’s make a list of actions that are paradigm case leadership, and that are paradigm case manageer. Examples: 1) Making up a budget for one’s organization: manaaging. 2) Devising a new mission for your organization in light of changed circumstances AND getting the people in it to buy into it: leadership.

    Reason for this: I don’t have a good enough feel for the distinction to to a PCF of it. When I’m in that situation, I start with examples.

    Second: Tony had a formulation: “Creating the circumstances in which the members can contribute.” That’s too abstract, though it strikes me as on the right track. It deals with creating a direction and getting others to participate. Does it yield anything useful?

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