Are they really Hero's and Villain's? 
Unraveling the Hero and Villain Narrative 
Is it just us or have you also noticed the endless articles online comparing management and leadership and, more often than not, coming to the conclusion that a leader is some sort of supreme being, topped with a halo and a manager is seen as the rogue demon. 
 
LinkedIn is so often awash with articles written by individuals (with, dare I say, little or no experience) which present this narrative as fact and we can’t help wondering how it makes managers feel when they read it. Becoming a manager for the first time can be tough as we are sure you managers out there will remember! Imposter syndrome is rife and succession planning is often a rarity. 
 
When we step off our soap box for a moment and take a wider look online, even highly respected sources such as Forbes and Harvard Business Review are publishing articles which present this depiction as truth. Managers are typically seen as the bureaucratic figures, enforcing rules and regulations, while leaders are heralded as the visionary trailblazers, inspiring and empowering their teams. 
 
When we check out the key words used throughout these write-ups, it is alarmingly noticeable that the language used only serves to further pitch the two roles of leader and manager against each other - heroes and villains of the piece! 
 
“Leaders inspire; Managers control” 
“Leaders are risk takers; Managers mitigate risk” 
“Leaders command respect; Managers demand respect” 
“Leaders are people focused; Managers are process and system driven” 
“Leaders have fans; Managers have employees” 
In this blog, we will delve into the differences between managers and leaders, debunk the hero and villain narrative, and explore how they can co-exist to drive organisational success 
Managers: The Pillars of Stability 
 
Managers are the linchpins of organisational structures. They are responsible for implementing policies, allocating resources, and ensuring that tasks are completed efficiently. Their focus lies in maintaining stability, mitigating risks, and achieving short-term goals. While they may be perceived as the villains of the story, bound by rules and hierarchies, their role is crucial in ensuring operational effectiveness. 
The Skillful Art of Leadership 
 
Leaders, on the other hand, possess a different set of qualities and responsibilities. They are the catalysts for change, the inspirers of others, and the navigators of uncertainty. Leaders provide a compelling vision for the future, motivate their teams, and foster an environment of innovation. They are the heroes who challenge the status quo, take calculated risks, and empower their subordinates to unlock their potential. 
The Blurred Lines: Manager as Leader, Leader as Manager 
 
In reality, the lines between managers and leaders are often blurred. Many successful managers possess leadership qualities, and effective leaders understand the importance of managerial skills. The hero and villain narrative oversimplifies the complex nature of these roles and fails to acknowledge that effective management requires leadership acumen, and vice versa. Managers can inspire their teams by providing a clear vision and purpose, while leaders must possess the ability to organise and execute strategies. 
The Power of Synergy: Bridging the Gap 
Rather than perpetuating the hero and villain narrative, organisations should strive to foster synergy between managers and leaders. Both roles are necessary for an organisation's success. By embracing their unique strengths and working collaboratively, managers and leaders can create a harmonious balance within the organisation. 
 
Ultimately, the key lies in recognising that both managers and leaders contribute to the overall success of an organisation. By fostering a culture that appreciates the different strengths and qualities they bring to the table, organisations can transcend the hero and villain narrative and create an environment where both can, not only co-exist, but thrive alongside each other. 
Remember, not every great Manager makes a great Leader and not every great Leader makes a great Manager! 
Dave Bownes 
Director, 
Haynes Oliver Limited 
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