Management vs Leadership

April 8, 2011

Management Vs. Leadership – Working In Sync

Distinction

Although the terms Manager and Leader are often used interchangeably in business settings to describe someone who oversees a function, area, or organization, they have very distinct and separate skill sets that take on different meanings.  Some Managers fail when it comes to leading, while some Leaders fail when it comes to managing.

Management Characteristics

In most organizations, a Manager is primarily responsible for a group of employees and their performance.  Managers are given their authority based on their role and ensure necessary work gets done, oversee day to day tasks, and manage their subordinates’ activities.  Given the nature of their role and authority, Managers are often more directive, controlling, and tactical in an effort to organize their employees to accomplish tasks and complete deliverables.

Leadership Characteristics

Leaders are often more strategic in their approach and rather than directing and controlling, they place special emphasis on motivating and inspiring employees to drive for exceptional performance.  Leaders have outstanding soft skills and are able to empower, energize, coach, and create enthusiastic work environments to get the best out of their employees.  Good leadership skills are behavioral in nature and subsequently much more difficult to learn than management skills.  Additionally, Leaders, unlike Managers, promote and concentrate on idea generation and change.  Employees represent the ideal opportunity to generate and implement change for continuous improvement and Leaders utilize them to achieve this.

Management & Leadership – Working In Sync

A commonly used phrase, ‘Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing’ shows the dependence each have on one another for a boss to be fully rounded.  It is imperative to deliver results and complete the day to day activities while inspiring employees and understanding the big picture.  Being a good Manager while failing to motivate, inspire, and drive employees will result in problems obtaining desired results.  Similarly, being an effective Leader without the management skills to support it will result in ideas and results not materializing.

Leadership and Management roles, when utilized in balance, can create synergies that result in optimal employee engagement and business results.  A well rounded and effective Leader and Manager can draw on each skill set in varying work environments or situations to achieve their desired results.

 

Every organization structures its goals and corporate agendas in anticipation of changes in the economy, industry, or competitive environment.  When an organization achieves these goals, Managers and employees continue sustaining the current system with little emphasis on change.  However, as consumer preferences change, industries evolve, and economies shift on a continuous basis, it is important for every organization’s Leaders to constantly challenge the status quo and current system in an effort to remain ahead of the competition.

Conclusion

Management and Leadership both play integral roles into the success of an organization and directly impact its ability to remain competitive.  Managing employees on a daily basis and ensuring necessary work and deliverables are completed on time are critical to an organizations day to day operations.  Leading and motivating employees for exceptional performance while cultivating an environment that promotes continuous improvement and idea generation will ensure organizations stay in tune with changes in the competitive landscape.  Utilizing both skills sets will create synergies across the function, area, or organization that will play a critical role in the organizations continued success.