Leadership is a common concept in management circles. No institution can prosper if it doesn’t have a visualized leadership strategy.

The success of any company is determined by its manager’s experience and leadership. Meaning that poor management leads to poor results and vice versa.

In the light of this, it is important for every student to learn the differences between an initiator and a leader.

Since students are the leaders of tomorrow, it is important that they learn the basics of social command.

No wonder this topic is very common in management courses. Unfortunately, some students fail to defend their ideas well, thereby scoring poorly. Not because they don’t understand the concept, but mostly because they have loads of other assignments to tackle.

Without further ado, here’s how leaders are different from initiators.

1. Initiators start, leaders finish.

We cannot divide leadership from management. These are two different concepts but they are intertwined.

An initiator can be said to that person who is the 1st to conceive an idea but might not be the implementer. The conceived idea may be brilliant but lack of proper know-how on how to actualize the idea may pose implementation challenges.

For one to succeed, it is imperative to conduct an extensive research.  

On the other hand, a commander is someone who is familiar with personnel control and guidance matters as they could have handled similar issues before thus they have the secrets.

To start with, a chief will conduct an intensive research and will only commit resources if they are certain it will succeed. Rarely you will find them rushing to invest in something they have just learned about.

Again, whereas the initiator focuses on the near future, a commander is a visionary person who is able to look into the distant future to see all the prospects of the idea they have in mind.

2. Leaders are more experienced.

Obviously, unlike initiators, leaders are highly experienced individuals and this is the key trait that differentiates them from beginners.

Their main role in an organization is decision-making and policy formulation. It the manager’s objective to ensure the company achieves its goals by organizing, controlling and harnessing the actions of employees towards achieving those goals.

3. Leaders can easily be initiators.

A true commander can initiate ideas but an initiator may not be or become a leader. This is because whereas anyone can generate an idea, not everyone can guide.

For initiators to lead, they must possess the required traits and must be subjected to the rigorous testing process.

You cannot just wake up today and say you want to lead. You must possess unique leadership traits that no other person has, to be recognized.

Skills of a successful leader

There are certain traits a good leader should possess to succeed in their endeavors. For example,

  • Ability to communicate effectively.
  • Ability to motivate others. It is evident that productivity increases if workers are motivated. This is because it enhances their work performance and the quality and output increases proportionately.
  • A good commander should exude confidence. People who are not confident in what they are doing cannot inspire and win the trust of their team members.
  • Another trait of a good commander is trustworthiness and integrity. The integrity of a leader should be beyond reproach. They should be people who are ready to ‘walk the talk’ or people who ‘mean what they say’.
  • A leader should be self-determined. A determined manager focuses on the goals and objectives of an organization. Meaning, they are creative, self-driven and persistent.

4. Manager vs leader.

Unlike a manager whose work involves planning and resource management, an experienced leader gives directions to enhance organization’s productivity. Their main concern is end results but not the processes. They do not mind about their popularity, all they want is positive results.

A leader can learn and become a good manager. But a good manager cannot learn to become a good leader.

Command training is crucial as it makes an employee more effective. But to managers, it helps them to discover their untapped potential. In other words, if training is honed with some intuitive and personal leadership abilities, one becomes a more effective commander.

5. Initiators may lack the resources/skills to execute ideas.

Have you ever heard of people having brilliant ideas only to hear someone else and mostly a company implementing the same idea? The reason is that although anyone can conceive an idea. However, putting that idea into action is challenging as it requires both capital and human resources.  

The biggest challenge initiators face is the inability to mobilize huge resources required and therefore they are forced to turn to others for financial support. No matter how good an idea is, if one is to implement it without recourse to others, it is good to plan and develop strategies for addressing implementation challenges.

In conclusion, initiators may come up with good ideas but lack the required resources and the ability to influence others to support them. On the other hand, a leader can easily influence even without occupying a position, as they are influential persons.

About The Author

Helen Birk is an enthusiastic writer and researcher for UK EduBirdie. She believes that anyone is capable of anything given the right motivation. Her main interest is helping students become successful in their study and future job.