In overall management theory, the recent trends consider distinguishing strongly between leadership and managerial qualities. According to this view, managers and leaders have certain major differences in a number of areas, including:
Psychological personality profile: Administrative for a manager and innovative for a leader.
Type of power and approach to making people do things: Administratively supported ordering for a manager and inspiring for a leader; subordinates’ respect replaced by admiration.
Approach to task execution: Objective-oriented task fulfillment with lots of detailed planning involved for a manager and overall vision (mission)-oriented movement for a leader; control replaced by trust.
Approach to planning: Acting on the basis of the goals set by others for a manager and fighting for their own goals with a great level of belief and commitment for a leader; professionalism replaced by enthusiasm.
Ways of affecting people: Logical for a manager and emotional for a leader.
Generally: While the manager is the one "doing things right", the position of the leader becomes to "do the right thing".
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While all the differences described above might really be of importance in the case of general management, in projects there is a need for both types of behavior, leadership as well as managerial. The leader’s behavior is critical in the initial phase of the project when the whole project plan largely sits within the project manager’s head and at the moments of major changes and problems. At these times deep emotional commitment and vision of the overall project mission is critical for project success and team members’ performance. Meanwhile, managerial characteristics are extremely important during the normal process of project task execution.
The other way of looking at differences between managerial and leadership approaches, as applied to a project management environment, has to do with the different types of project managers. This is determined by the different types of projects carried out and the organizational structure involved. In the case of the managed-by-projects or project-oriented or matrix organization, the project managers carry out certain types of similar projects on a constant basis and demonstrate more management qualities, with the major decisions on project implementation being more or less outside of their competence. In the case of large-scale projects with the project organization formation, the manager of the project is normally much more emotionally involved with the project’s overall mission and presents many of the qualities regarded as those of a project leader.
The same situation, strangely enough, could be the case in a weak matrix organization with a project coordinator having very little formal authority but a large level of commitment toward the overall project result.