Manager versus Leader

Manager versus Leader
"Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; while, leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”-Stephen R. Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Some people just want the title of a manager without realizing what the title entails. Often times, we envisioned that a manager is associated with control, power over someone, or being “the boss.” Sometimes, the overuse of power reflects the success or downfall of the team. The concepts of managing or leading are still unclear for some and interchangeably using the terms. Over the years, more studies have shown distinctively that the two concepts are different but can be complementary to each other. According to American Organization of Nurse Executives, the competencies for a manager include skills such as ability to lead, to speak well, and to have good nursing and marketing knowledge.

Once again, managing and leading are not new concepts that I learned growing up when my mother gave me responsibilities at home. As I recalled, I managed our house and I was in charge of my brothers and sisters while my mother went to work. I was the leader and my siblings were my followers. In the school, I was one of the followers in the student assembly. These concepts are observed in the community, in the church, in politics, and all around us. Similarly in the hospital, someone is leading us to reach the organizational goals and someone is telling us what, when, and how to reach the organizational goals.

For the past decades, management and leadership evolved as another field of art and science. More experts and theorists have written books on these topics. One of the interesting books that were written by two nurses has pointed out the differences between management and leaderships. In this book written by Theresa Valiga and Sheila Grossman entitled, “The New Leadership Challenge: Creating the Future of Nursing,” has pointed out that leaders and managers are two different types of people. A leader is different from being a manager from the following categories: their point of views, goals, actions, motivation, and the extent of their authority.

The leader deals with people and building relationships in order to do the things and manager deals with the mundane tasks to accomplish things. In order to be productive and reach the organizational goals, the manager must have some strategy to accomplish them. There are four basic tenets of management. The manager must have a well written plan, the priorities are spelled out to complete the plan, the team gets directions to accomplish the plan efficiently and effectively, and the progress of the team is monitored and adjusted as needed to facilitate completing the plan or achieving the goals.

Managers are not necessarily leaders and leaders are not necessarily managers. However, to be an effective manager, one must have strong leadership qualities and personality. According to Warren Bennis and Burt Manus, two of the leading experts in leadership stated that, "Managers are people who do things right, while leaders, are people who do the right thing.”

For those who are currently a manager or a leader, is worth to be in this position? Please join in sharing your thoughts and views in the Forum.

To learn more about the difference between leadership and management and how to be an effective leader in nursing, I recommend these books for further reading.

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Content copyright © 2022 by Helen V. Calalang-Javier, MSN, RNC,IBCLC. All rights reserved.
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