Your Business: Management Versus Leadership
There Are Significant Distinctions Between Management And Leadership
Article By: Douglas E. Castle
Originally Published In The TAKING COMMAND! Blog
Leaders lead people. Manager manage tasks. There is a significant difference.
In my practice of Management Consulting, I have met managers and I have met leaders. It is clear that some managers are terrible leaders, and some leaders are very poor managers. It is rare that I have met a manager who was a great leader, or a leader who was a great manager. The skill sets and functions of each are quite different, and these differences are important to understand. Each of these two can play a valuable role in the success of any organization, or directly in the revenue production, profitability and market position of your business.
Here is a brief outline of the key differences between the two roles:
The manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:– The manager administers; the leader innovates.
– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
– The manager maintains; the leader develops.
– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
– The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
– The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
– The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
– The manager imitates; the leader originates.
– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
– The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
– The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.
Perhaps there was a time when the calling of the manager and that of the leader could be separated. A foreman in an industrial-era factory probably didn’t have to give much thought to what he was producing or to the people who were producing it. His or her job was to follow orders, organize the work, assign the right people to the necessary tasks, coordinate the results, and ensure the job got done as ordered. The focus was on efficiency, and personalities and individualism in employees were low priorities if regarded at all.
But in the new economy, where value comes increasingly from the knowledge of people and of emotional intelligence and industrial psychology, and where workers are no longer undifferentiated “robots” in an industrial machine or mere pegs in a giant pegboard, management and leadership are no longer as easily separated. Employees and workers in general look to their managers, not just to assign them tasks, but to define and provide them each with a personalized purpose, as well as with a view of how their efforts contribute to the whole of what is being produced or provided by the enterprise.
And managers must organize workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results. More specifically, managers have to cultivate team leadership skills in order to be effective and avoid to obsolescence (and the unemployment which usually goes along with becoming outmoded or disrupted in a troubled economy).
In brief, today's managers are increasingly having to develop leadership attributes in order to deal with the changing demands and needs of the current and upcoming members of the employee workforce. Managers must have, or must acquire, the people skills of leaders in order to get more cooperation, collaboration and synergy out of the employee teams whom they are tasked with managing.
As an added observation, it is, generally speaking, easier to cultivate team leadership skills in a good manager than it is to train and turn a leader into an efficient and effective manager. I've participated in both exercises, and the former is generally much, much easier and more likely to be successful than the latter.
Douglas E. Castle
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