Harnessing Leadership and Management Strengths for Effectiveness
Management strengths are a set of processes that keep an organisation functioning. The processes are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan. Target setting is a management technique used to focus attention on certain activities. A hospital, for example, might set targets around waiting times.
Leadership is very different. It is about aligning people to the vision, that means buy-in and communication, motivation and inspiration. Visionary leadership combined with great management achieves the best results. There are fundamental differences between leadership and management that apply to any team or organization, but the focus of this article is to define the strengths of each as they apply to leading organizational change.
The most successful transformations occur when strong leadership meets great management. Both define a clear path for effective leadership. There are important distinctions between managing and leading people. Here are eight of the most important differences between a leader and a manager:
Leaders create a vision, managers create goals
Leaders paint a picture of what they see as possible and inspire and engage their people in turning that vision into reality. They think beyond what individuals do. They activate people to be part of something bigger. They know that high-functioning teams can accomplish a lot more working together than individuals working autonomously. Managers focus on setting, measuring and achieving goals. They control situations to reach or exceed their objectives.
Leaders are change agents, managers maintain the status quo
Leaders are proud disrupters. Innovation is their expertise. They embrace change and know that even if things are working, there could be a better way forward. And they understand and accept the fact that changes to the system often create waves. Managers stick with what works, refining systems, structures and processes to make them better.
Leaders take risks, managers control risk
Leaders try new things even if there’s no sure way to success. They know that failure is often a step on the path to success. Managers work to minimize risk. They seek to avoid or control problems rather than embrace them.
Leaders think long-term, managers think short-term
Leaders have intentionality. They are not swayed from achieving their goals. They are very well motivated. Managers work on shorter-term goals, seeking more regular acknowledgment and/or rewards.
Leaders learn daily, managers rely on existing skills
Leaders learn new thing every day. They are curious and seek to remain relevant in an ever-changing world of work. They seek out people and information that will expand their thinking. Managers often double down on what made them successful, perfecting existing skills and adopting proven behaviors.
Leaders build relationships, managers build systems
Leaders focus on people and influence them in order to realize their vision. They build loyalty and trust by consistently delivering on their promise. Managers focus on the structures necessary to set and achieve goals. They focus on the analytical and ensure systems are in place to attain desired outcomes. They work with individuals and their goals and objectives.
Leaders coach, managers direct
Leaders coach and mentor their followers. They see people as competent being and are optimistic about peoples potential. They resist the temptation to tell their people what to do and how to do it. Managers assign tasks and provide guidance on how to accomplish them.
Leaders create fans, managers have employees
Leaders have people who go beyond following them; their followers become their raving fans and fervent promoters – helping them build their brand and achieve their goals. Their fans help them increase their visibility and credibility. Managers have staff who follow directions and seek to please the boss.
Are you a manager or a leader?