Managers need to be Leaders Too

Understanding leadership can make their job easier, and more importantly "more effective"

The following is an extract from the ACS Course on Leadership (Click to for details on this Course)


So what is a leader?

Conservative definitions focus on the leader’s authority and ability to get things done – the leader as:

  • authority, a person with the acknowledged power to direct and control others
  • achiever, a person who uses their power to set and achieve goals
  • manager, a person who directs others to achieve established goals
  • anyone who emerges as a leader and is accepted as such by the group, formally or informally.


Popular current concepts of leadership define the leader as:

  • an enabler, a person who enables others to experience or achieve something)
  • a motivator, a person who aspires to goals or ideals and inspires others to achieve them
  • an innovator, a person w ho inspires others to adapt, change directions, try new ideas, take risks.


These concepts create a picture of leadership based on the nature of the individual’s relationship and interactions with others, rather than on official or granted authority.


Modern management theory questions the more conservative definitions of leader based onauthority, explaining that in the business world, a leader may be the CEO (chief executive officer) of an organisation, a manager or a supervisor, but may also be an ordinary worker who is respected and followed by others. While a leader may manage, not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers, despite their authority to establish rules and enforce orders.


According to Warren Bennis (1998), a leader is not the same as a manager.A manager’s concerns are with practical applications (operations, control, administering, maintaining processes and standards etc.) where a leader’s concerns are with defining long term goals and creating an environment conducive to their achievement (people, culture, innovation, inspiration, growth). Bennis distinguishes between a manager’s transformational view (doing the right thing) and the transactional leadership view (doing things right). Being in a position of authority does not necessarily make a person is an effective leader. The ability to influence attitudes and behaviour of others is what makes a good leader. An effective leader will be respected and his/her directions will be followed.