What are the differences between managers and leaders? Provide examples relevant to a health care environment.

Expert Answers
durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is generally accepted in any business environment that managers and leaders sometimes have overlapping roles and duties therefore defining each is a complex matter (Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review). Good leaders may be called upon in some business environments to be effective managers.

Good managers in healthcare, as an example, must have the ability to maintain a structured environment, managing to ensure that there is the right mix of personnel, staff, supplies, and scheduled appoints at the right times. The manager's team has duly delegated motivation and purposes focused on achieving specific tasks, duties, operations, etc. In general, leaders are usually identified as those who inspire.

Good management is the ability to make others work well and to set and meet overall objectives. The external environment is a major consideration for a manager and he or she must fit with the mission and vision of the health care organization and must drive the business towards that. A good manager must make the best use of resources, ensure adequate training and smooth application of tasks. A good leader has the original ideas which are then implemented by the good manager.

yamuna | Student

One fundamental difference between a good manager and a good leader is the ability to bring in change. A manager would be able to get things done by others and ensure that the health-care environment is well coordinated in its functioning. A leader, on the other hand, would be one who would facilitate changes to improve the system and take it higher.

Eg. A hospice set-up

A manager would ensure that the admn staff, the nurses, the janitors, the kitchen staff and maintenance personnel do their work well and will coordinate their work to ensure that it is done regularly and efficiently.

A leader would not only ensure the above, but would also introduce systems to improve the quality of work and the experience of the hospice service receivers. The leader might think of a greener environment, better ventilated rooms, better communication between the departments and between the staff and the in-patients and so on...A leader would be a great facilitator for change.