Management vs Leadership – How Can You Tell the Difference?

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Showing Leadership and Practicing Management

Leadership doesn't scream, it speaks.Managers are tough. Managers make the hard decisions. It’s important that a manager be detached and impersonal at all times. They schedule and supervise processes and the human resources allocated to perform tasks. They make the machine work.

That’s what I got from most of the management training I received. Admittedly I put my own little twist on it as I interpreted it but it’s the way it felt.

And it felt wrong. If you have had any management training, perhaps that’s the way it felt to you to.

I then had an opportunity to attend a course on leadership at a large company. Strangely, the title was different but the content was the same.

Leadership is NOT Management

As I studied more about leadership it occurred to me: the biggest challenge we have in creating leaders out of managers is that they don’t know the difference.

Simple Leadership

Actually the leadership versus management conundrum breaks down into a pretty simple form.  There are a lot of little nuances that go with it but the essence drives most of that. Based on my experiences and my research, here is what I found defines the difference.

♣ Management is About Process

It’s about the systems in place. Procedures matter, the end result matters. Resources matter. People are one of the resources you use to get the job done.

♥ Leadership is About People

A leader focuses on not just the team as a group but on the individuals within in. He knows that for the team to excel individual members have to be able to perform at their best.

♣ Management is Doing Things Right

The rules matter. Gotta have the rules. And you must follow the rules to the letter. They are there for a reason. Implementation is the key.

♥ Leadership is Doing the Right Thing

Values matter. What is best here? If what we are doing is not serving our purpose and taking care of our people, then let’s do something else. Strategy is the key.

♣ Management Directs

The manager is ready to give instructions based on HIS knowledge and experience. “This is what we are going to do and this is how we do it.” The emphasis is on GIT STUFF DONE regardless.

♥ Leadership Guides

The leader provides the vision, the goal, and the expectations. She equips and empowers her people to us their knowledge and experience to accomplish the task at hand.

♣ Management Evaluates

A manager is constantly looking at counting the value of what she is getting. There has to be a number on it. What’s the ROI? How can I measure your actual contribution to our results?

♥ Leadership Adds Value

A leader looks at how he can make things a little better. How do I move our team forward? What can I do to help my employees become a little better today than yesterday?

♣ Management is Bottom Line Focused

What really matters to the manager is a profit was made, or all the goals were met or exceeded. The numbers were made because after all that is what we are all about; nothing else. What have you done for me lately and how has it saved or made me money?

♥ Leadership is Growth Focused

The leader is concerned with more than accomplishment of the task but also where we are going in the future. She thinks about how she can better equip her team to meet the challenges, how she can build them up to accomplish even greater things. She is not just about now but about the future and moving forward to it.

♣ Management Says “Go!”

Quoting from John Maxwell in his book Developing the Leader Within You, “a boss (manager) drives his workers. He depends on authority, utilizes fear if necessary. He fixes the blame.” The manager is content to stand on the sideline watching everything and judging whether it meets his standards.

♥ Leadership Says “Let’s Go!”

Again from John Maxwell, “the leader coaches, he depends on goodwill, he inspires enthusiasm.” The leader rolls up his sleeves and pitches in to help when it is needed and encourage when it is not.

♣ Management is About Control

The manager has to call all the shots. It’s important to her that things are done HER way because it’s the way she learned and therefore must be the right way. Got a better idea? Keep it to yourself. No time, not interested. The problem with control is that it is often an illusion. In the face of outward control and the inability to show initiative, the employee will instead rely on passive-aggressive behaviors and silent sabotage. The sense of control starts to fade, causing panic on the part of the manager who then takes over even more to re-establish their control.

♥ Leadership is About Trust

The leader makes sure that expectations are clear, that people are equipped, and sets his people loose to accomplish their tasks and meet the goals. He depends on his employees to work with the best interest of the organization in mind. To foster that, he works hard to make sure his employees trust him. He builds relationships with each employee, he connects with them. The leader only promises what he can deliver. Consistently he is honest. He shows integrity in both word and deed. The leader knows that mutual trust is essential to team accomplishment.

Some of Both is Good

Now the idea here isn’t to say that management is bad and leadership is good. It’s tempting to do so and many experts today do exactly that. We seem to have moved from the extreme of pure management to the other extreme of pure leadership.

And yet somewhere in between is where the sweet spot is. When the leader gathers the right people in the right place and he equips them with the skillsets and tools they need. When he sets expectations and empowers them to do what is necessary to meet the goal within expected behaviors, then he needs also to have processes in place that at least provide a good starting point for getting things done.

All the leadership in the world doesn’t matter if things aren’t getting better. We still need to get things done and management helps keep that a critical element.

Be the Manager and the Leader

Now there are people who are good managers – they are good at the process – but they are not very good at focusing on their people.  But the best managers not only have to be good with process but they also have to be the good leaders.  They have to be good with their people.  So go beyond the process and focus on the people that your work with.  Focus on connecting with your people and that’s what makes the difference.

The real benefit of being both the leader and the manager is that when you get good at the leadership you find that you spend less time having to manage. Think about the long hours you spend doing “management” things. Think of the frustration. Now think about having more clarity, more peace of mind, more confidence in your team, and more time. That’s the promise of the strong leader.

The Leadership of Theodore Roosevelt

Leadership by Theodore RooseveltThere is story from many years ago that one of the things that made President Theodore Roosevelt so well liked was the fact that he connected with everybody; his valet, the white house servants, everybody.  He knew all of them by name.  Roosevelt knew about their histories and he took the time to talk with them and connect with every one of them.  He spent more time being a leader and less time being a manager. As a result,  all his staff loved him and were willing to work with him and go the extra measure for him.

So develop a genuine interest in and focus on others in your group.  Connect with them, communicate with them, and be consistent and you are going to find that the rest of it is going to fall in place for you.

What’s the greatest challenge you face being both a manager and a leader? If you are a leader but not a manager, how does that challenge you? Share your thoughts in the comments or email me at psimkins@BoldlyLead.com

What is something you can do today to add value to an employee? Not all of them once, just pick one. Find a way to add value to them today and then come tell me about it. If that’s challenging to you, drop me a note and let’s see how I can help you.

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