It’s such a fascinating debate and one which starts to really engage the minds of those who are running companies and those looking to develop managers within their businesses.
In trying to establish the difference between leadership and management I have come up with this:
Leaders set visions and directions for people to choose to follow – they remain the face of that new direction or vision.
Managers direct people and control resources in response to a plan or set duties to achieve results.
What do you think?
How many of you have been on ‘leadership’ training programmes which taught you forecasting, budget control, business planning, praise and discipline procedures, how to conduct career reviews? Having sat through many training programmes like that it became clear to me that I was being trained the transactional duties of a manager and not necessarily leadership skills.
In my opinion, leadership has a strong element of innate behaviour attached to it. How you motivate people for them to work harder, smarter and more effectively, depends on whether you have the leadership skills in order to attract them as loyal followers. It’s about approach, style, consistency, inspiration and delivery.
There are many people who have both leadership and management skills and can excel at both – they are not mutually exclusive.
Managers are given power over people by promotion, job title and role dependent responsibility – this is usually vested in them by their company.
A manager tells people what is needed to be done in their job and the worker goes about completing that task. Managers are also managed, and they are paid to get things done.
There is very much a feeling of transaction when it comes to how a manager carries out their job. It’s driven by results, that may be money, results or numbers based.
Good leaders have followers but being a follower is totally voluntary. It’s not done in return for a salary. So – the role of a leader becomes more complex in order to develop their followers.
A leader avoids telling people what to do – they have other ways to inspire someone to enhance performance. It’s a hearts and minds thing! Leaders have an ability to bring about the best in someone and in turn, make them feel like a better person. Good leadership really can have a lasting impact on someone.
Leaders create loyalty – giving credit to others and taking on additional pressures themselves. They focus their attention on the importance of creating enthusiasm in others about a vision.
Reading around the topic, it would appear that managers are often risk-averse and leaders, in turn, are more comfortable with risk and may break some rules to make progress.
To make it a little clearer, managers tend to enjoy existing well-established roads, leaders will look for new untouched roads. People can combine both and succeed at both – but being able to identify what is needed in both roles will undoubtedly enhance a person’s success.