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The dichotomy between the leader, the manager and leadership

Leader Manager Leadership-MarketExpressLeadership to me is delinked from designation or level. Contrary to common and all pervasive beliefs I would even like to free the idea of leadership from the vagaries of personality, charisma, or the ability to create followers; which today with power and money are easily created. I would like to introduce a notion, not new but oft ignored. An idea, which makes the need to differentiate between a Leader and a Manager, superfluous.

Leadership to me is about making a difference in whatever you do, however big or small. In today’s self-centred world of ‘me’ and ‘mine’, a leader would be any person who rises above the mundane and stimulates others to action.

I don’t even want to reflect on whether leaders are born or created (despite the many surveys that offer testimonial/proof of the same). In the same way, I recently came across a debate on the Key differences between a Manager and a Leader. It took me quite by surprise .Was such a debate even relevant in today’s ever fluctuating and fluid reality? I recalled my early college days, where we had addressed the same topic with all the necessary gravity and concentration that befits a naïve and eager student. Finding the same topic still pertinent years later left me, slightly dumbstruck.

Over the years, I have had the good fortune of interacting with and learning from countless managers and yes, so called leaders too. Despite the various tips available online and myriad books on the topic, I have always observed persistence in the logic that a Leadership position equals Leadership. On the same note a lowly Manager (read as, ordinary employee) with no special bells and whistles designation, would be hard pressed to meet the cut of being called a Leader.

Let us open our eyes! There are leaders everywhere. We just need to adjust our rose tinted glasses to see them. There is a leader, in the service guy who prepares FAQs for his customers, a process improvement idea which definitely didn’t occur to top brass of his prominent Consumer durable firm. The innocent and grubby child on the street who, stands by an open pot hole for hours on end to ensure that no one inadvertently comes to harm, is a leader. A leader can be found in the undistinguished sales manager who is neither a braggart nor gregarious but still surpasses his targets month on month. A leader is the employee who resists all family and peer pressure to succumb to the temptation of kickbacks.

And, today or tomorrow, if you find yourself tasked with the responsibility of managing or influencing , regardless of the magnitude or significance don’t look to the next person .Look for the Leader within.

  • Nice article and a fair viewpoint….On the lines of Robin Sharma’s book-“The Leader who had no title”. Stimulating and inspiring others is what a “transformational” leader should and would do. Wholly agree that leadership lies within. You are a leader when you take the first step…

    • sushma desouza

      Thanks Aarti . looking forward to more of your inputs on my group interview xpress on linked in if possible


  • sushma desouza

    Thanks Shamik