Monday, March 19, 2007

Difference Between Leaders and Managers (8)

I find it amusing to see how much authors are trying to make a point in concentrating on the differences between leaders and managers. There is a difference, off course, but there is also a vast grey zone between the two opposite styles where everything becomes blurry, where there seems no difference at all between managers and leaders. I always compare it with a balance. On the one end of the balance, there is the extreme leader who could be considered a despot. On the other end resides the absolute manager, to be considered a bureaucrat, in the worst sense imaginable.

The more management qualities the extreme leader possesses the more he slides towards the middle of the scale. The more leadership qualities a manager demonstrates the more he moves towards the middle. I do not necessarily believe that the best possible leader/manager is to be found in the middle of the balance where the two extremes converge. It is the context that requires a certain kind of leader or manager. In a healthy multinational we probably like our leaders/managers to come from the middle of the scale. We like our leaders to demonstrate excellent management skills, as much as we like our managers to perform as capable leaders. In a war situation however it is more likely you'll need an extreme leader who is able to 'move' his soldiers so they'll engage into battle.