The Extinction of Managers and Expansion of Leaders

What’s the difference between a manager and a leader?

Many people believe these terms are the same, however, a manager uses control and a leader uses influence. We can also see their differences by the power each entity uses to accomplish their goals.

Managers usually accomplish their goals by force utilizing legitimate power (has the right or authority based on hierarchy in society) or coercive power (the ability to punish others i.e. parents-child relationship).

Leaders accomplish their goals by attracting others using reward power (the ability to reward others for compliance), expert power (power based on their specialized knowledge), referent power (power based on attractiveness and respect), and information power (ability to control information that others need).

Careers during the Industrial Age often included monotonous work, giving people the opportunity to earn a living, yet, no autonomy at work. The culture was also shaped by the World Wars. People were needed to ensure work was being completed in a systematic fashion similar to our armed forces. These influences resulted in the need for managers, not leaders.

Today, culture is much different. Our society is richer and technology has created unique opportunities for people to make a living. Fewer children have experienced the hardships of war and famine instead, they have been exposed to more freedoms than previous generations. Unfortunately, the rapid increase of technology has resulted in major changes in career opportunities for older generations who are still working due to financial issues. For the first time in history, we have five working generations in our workforce.

Unfortunately, traditional managers won’t be able to retain the employees of the future to be successful. Technology has changed the monotonous nature of work and the careers of the future will require autonomy. Another issue for traditional managers is the multigenerational workforce. Our largest working generation the Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Digital Natives all value autonomy, a change from the Industrial Age. If businesses want to be successful they have to understand technology and the needs of each generation.

To engage workers of the future, managers will need to be leaders. People are changing jobs more often than in the past, gravitating towards careers with meaning and purpose.

They have more opportunity, allowing them to look for the best return on their time.

They respect authority but don’t believe in the legitimate or coercive power of the past.

They do respect rewards, expertise, information, and social attractiveness, which are traits of leaders.

They rebel force but are attracted to influence…

Meaning they oppose managers and they are attracted to leaders.