The difference between leadership and management
Are you an authentic leader who gets the most out of your team, or are you simply managing the day-today processes? Read on to find out more, and how you can develop your leadership skills.
Leadership is about PEOPLE
People with leadership skills can create a vision that excites their direct reports, or ‘followers’. They can talk about the future and where their organisation is going, and articulate the strategic vision that will lead their team to success.
Leaders understand that teams are made up of individuals with different personalities, skill sets, communication and behavioural preferences. They also see that, when brought together through effective leadership, these differences can produce exceptional results. When conflict may start to arise amongst their direct reports because of these differences, leaders can see it, and they deal with it before it can make any impact on the team.
Good leaders have high emotional intelligence (a high EQ) and understand how their emotions, both positive and negative, affect their direct reports. They understand that a leader’s emotions are contagious. In this sense, leaders who are always in bad moods are bad for business, and those that seem to be in good spirits help drive business success. All of these things make people want to follow great leaders.
Management is about PROCESSES
Managers embed themselves in the tactical aspects of the workplace – the doing. They delegate and prioritise tasks, refine processes and make sure people follow them. Managers make sure that operations are running efficiently. They ensure that people complete their time sheets correctly, are back at their desks on time after lunch, and don’t leave early. Managers don’t necessarily understand or care that their employees have differing skills, and communication and behavioural styles that need to be managed differently to get optimum results.
Anyone in management can learn leadership skills – but you have to be prepared to work at it
This is only true if a manager doesn’t want to change or grow. While it is true that some people take to leadership better than others, most managers can learn to lead well– but they have to want to change and:
- be open to new and different ways of looking at their people, seeing them as the unique individuals that they are.
- accept that perhaps the way they have always been doing it needs to change.
- be open to both positive and constructive feedback regarding their evolving leadership skills, and willing to take the necessary steps to develop as leaders in response to this feedback.
We all want leaders we can follow to a place that is better than where we are now. That’s why there’s a children’s game called ‘Follow the Leader’ and not ‘Follow the Manager’.