Who is the leader or manager around here?

Leader or manager – the same or different?  We can consider this question from various perspectives. Here Shaun the Sheep (star of screen and field) helps us to look at the differences.

Manager and leader can be seen as roles. Certainly, you are familiar with the role of manager, in fact you may be one. Leader – are you one? I would suggest that the answer to that is YES in that we can all show leadership. Ah, now is there a difference between leader/ manager and  leadership/  management? Questions, questions.

There is a wealth of evidence that where engaging leadership is tangible within a team it can significantly improve results. Work by Alimo-Metcalfe and her colleagues demonstrates the significant impact of engaging leadership, in terms of team results, customer satisfaction and much more. Here are some of the key elements of engaging leadership:

  • Feeling empowered by being trusted to take decisions  


  • Feeling actively supported in developing personal strengths  


  • Believing people will listen to ideas  


  • Time being made for staff to discuss problems & issues  


  • Feeling involved in developing a vision  


  • Feeling involved in determining how to achieve the vision   


  • High use of face-to-face communications

Meanwhile, for a rather silly answer to the question about leader and manager, let us consider two famous characters – Shaun and Bitzer.

Yes, that is Shaun as in Shaun the Sheep. Take a look at the pictures – who do you think is the manager, who the leader and why? My thoughts are below.











In the first picture Bitzer the sheep dog has resources for organising (although you may know he is not always highly effective!) – so probably he is the manager.

The second picture shows Shaun encouraging a team of sheep; so is he the leader? Clearly he has concern for their health & well-being.

So, the final picture. The leader and manager working together. Perhaps that is the important one – both are important and are needed in to-days organisations. The challenge is how -well, that’s a story for another day.

I hope this view on management and leadership has both amused and got you thinking. Why not send me your questions about these topics and I will take them as the basis for future blogs. Looking forward to hearing from you.


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