IIM Shillong – Management Over Leadership

A successful business owner needs to be both a strong leader and manager to get their team on board to follow them towards their vision of success. Leadership is about getting people to understand and believe in your vision and to work with you to achieve your goals while managing is more about administering and making sure the day-to-day things are happening as they should.

Are all managers leaders? Some will answer ‘yes’ assuming the two are synonymous with one another. Others will think back to some of their managers and evaluate them as someone who they either do or do not consider a leader.

A manager is a person in an organization who is responsible for carrying out the four functions of management, including planning, organizing, leading and controlling. As one of the functions is leadership, one might ask oneself if it would be safe to assume that all managers are leaders. Theoretically speaking all managers would be leaders if they effectively carry out their leadership responsibilities to communicate, motivate, inspire and encourage employees towards a higher level of productivity. However, not all managers are leaders because not all managers can do all of those items listed.

Perhaps the greatest separation between management and leadership is that leaders do not have to hold a management position. That is, a person can become a leader without a formal title. People are willing to follow the leader because of who he is and what the leader stands for, not because they have to due to the authority bestowed onto them. The leader will show passion and personal investment in the success of his or her followers reaching their goals.

A leader has no formal, tangible power over their followers. Power is awarded to the leader on a temporary basis and is contingent upon the leader’s ability to continue to motivate and inspire followership : managers have subordinates, while leaders have followers. Subordinates do not have a choice but to listen to the demands and wishes of their managers, but following is a voluntary choice for those who follow a leader.

Leadership is about effectiveness through trust, inspiration and people. Leaders often challenge the status quo that managers spend much of their time upholding to bring innovation to organizations. Leadership is visionary, change-savvy, creative, agile and adaptive. Managers are concerned with the bottom line, while leaders spend time looking at the horizon.


Saurabh Tyagi

PGP 2nd Year

IIM Shillong

IIM Shillong Placement Committee

Placement Committee of IIM Shillong