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All leaders can be managers but not all managers can be leaders

Johannesburg, 17 Jul 2023

Leadership and management are two terms that we are familiar with and are often used interchangeably. Ellené Pienaar-Carstens, operations manager at BizDev, says while both are important to the success of an organisation, they are very different approaches to an authoritative role and require different individuals with different skillsets and approaches.

Pienaar-Carstens says when looking at the qualities and skillsets for each role, it is evident that all leaders can be managers but not all managers can be leaders. “Saying this, it is important for organisations to understand the difference between the two roles, as the right individuals need to be selected for the positions.” Pienaar-Carstens highlights below the key differences between leaders and managers:

Leadership is the ability to motivate and inspire a team to achieve a shared goal. Leaders:

  • Are individuals who have vision and the ability to communicate that vision to others in a means that inspires them to take action;
  • Motivate others to work towards a common goal by creating a sense of purpose and direction;
  • Lead by example and are willing to take risks to achieve their vision;
  • Are excellent communicators with good interpersonal skills who can build strong relationships with their team; and
  • Have the ability of quick decision-making and are able to adapt to changing circumstances when required.

Management is the process of planning, organising and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. Managers:

  • Are individuals who are responsible for co-ordinating and directing the work of others, to ensure that goals are met efficiently and effectively;
  • Ensure resources are being used wisely and the organisation is operating in compliance with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Are concerned with maintaining the status quo and ensuring tasks are completed on time and within budget; and
  • Are organised, analytical and detail-oriented.

“Overall, leaders tend to be more innovative and forward-thinking and managers tend to be more conservative and risk-averse,” says Pienaar-Carstens. Leadership can be taken a step further with the philosophy of servant leadership. This approach is based on the idea that leaders should be committed to serving the people they lead – helping them to develop and grow in an environment where they feel valued and respected – rather than seeking personal gain or control.

In conclusion, she says: “Both roles are important for the success of an organisation and by having the right individuals in the right roles, there is a balance between innovation and stability within the organisation.” 


Editorial contacts

Inge Lawrence
Republic PR