Leadership & The Role Of Managers

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Leadership & the Role of Managers

Leadership & the Role of Managers


Meyers (2007) quotes some very frightening facts faced by American health system today. According to AMA, he quotes, '60 percent of CEOs in the country's largest systems will reach retirement age in five years.' This fact is further highlighted in leadership gaps across other institutions. While some health institutions are successful developing in leaders, most face acute shortage. Consequently, the leadership tasks are delegated to managers, who, with their limited leadership focus, fail to build sustainable strategies for growth and development. A developmental culture for leadership is the key to solve this problem (Meyers, 2007).


There is a popular misconception among people that management and leadership are the one and the same things. The difference between leadership and managing is well explained by Rothbauer (2009) in his article title “Leading Versus Managing”. According to Rothbauer, leading entails an inspiration whereas managers do not. Rothbauer clearly finds managers in the transactional leadership form i.e. persons who oversee the day-to-day operations of the business or an institution. A good supervisor, Rothbauer believes, has a combination of both management and leadership traits (Rothbauer, 2009).

McNamara draws some fine distinctions between managing and leading. He sees managers as the people who work toward the organization's goals using its resources in an effective and efficient manner (McNamara, 2007). In a traditional sense, large organizations may have different levels of managers, including top managers, middle managers and first-line managers. Seeing it in an organizational perspective, the top management will be more strategy and mission focused the the middle or line management. Hence, the top management should represent an organizational leadership. Some basic differences between managers and leaders are as follows:

A manager takes care of the regular operations; a leader heads into new directions for improving operations.

A manager is able to handle defined complexities but a leader could manage uncertain and undefined certainties.

A manager finds the facts; a leader makes the decisions.

A manager does things right; a leader does the right things.

A manager's critical concern is efficiency; a leader focuses on effectiveness.

A manager focuses on short and medium term goals; a leader focuses on long-range goals.

Garman (2006) lists some of the most important knowledge areas pertinent for learning healthcare leadership (Garman & Tran, 2006). Health leaders must have knowledge about the customers (patients), staff, systems, and the community ...
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