Leaders Have Followers, Not Subordinates

Managers have subordinates that they can pass on and delegate a breakdown of the main tasks to. They also have authority to carry out the goals of the organization in either an authoritarian way where the subordinates can act as robots or in a transactional way where he makes sure that following orders has its rewards. The essence of a manager is stability and his ultimate goal is the accomplishment of the organization’s objectives. He does this by planning the details and managing the operational work.

Leaders rarely have subordinates. They only have them if they become managers, too. What leaders have are followers. However, if and when they want to lead, they have to give up the implied power to control or manage because leading means having followers who voluntarily decide to follow. The best that a leader can do is to inspire people to follow him by convincing them that risks are good. It is implied, of course, that leaders seek risks. A leader is an ace with people. This charisma brings about the transformation in the organization.

When followers believe a leader and follow his efforts at change, the organization starts to transform. The essence of a leader is change and his ultimate goal is the accomplishment of the organization’s vision. He does this by giving the direction and leading the people.

A leader almost always looks forward, concerns himself with risks and how to avoid them, knows that risks bring rewards, and inspires his followers to see these, too. He is the live embodiment of the organization’s mission and vision. On the other hand, a manager concentrates on the day-to-day operational tasks by following through with budgets and timeline, while directing the organization to accomplish the goals. He is the live embodiment of the organization’s objectives.

While leaders chase the opportunities and augment the strengths of the organization, managers shrink the risks and weakness of the organization as well as steering clear of the threats. Both leader and manager are an imperative in this day and age of complex and unpredictable business environment because each one aims to do a different thing. A good leader who is a weak manager may be adversely worse because it is management that brings order into chaos and consistency into erratic trends. While a leader constantly reinvents, makes changes, and copes with changes, the manager is the one who organizes and solves problems.



lead or follow