Many confuse when should you manage and when should you lead. These are the two key roles to play on the stage of business is leader and manager. Discover the essential differences between great leaders and managers.
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Confusion Over The Meaning of Leadership and Management
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Effective Leadership And Effective Management
By Murray Johannsen, Feel free to connect with the author on Linkedin or by email
Throughout life, we will be called to play many roles. Two of the most important work roles relate to that of leader and manager.
"Some leaders cannot manage— some managers cannot lead."
In business and in government, one must be both good at both management and relationship effective as both a manager and a leader. These roles are extremely complex, typically requiring university degree(s) and thousands of hours of practice.
Confusion Over the Meaning of Leadership and Management
Most people talk as though leadership and management are the same thing. Fundamentally, they are very different. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not understand this.
This was discovered a few years ago when doing on-site training in TQM. As part of a class exercise, participants where asked for a definition of Total Quality Management. Everyone got total right, there was even good consistency regarding quality. However, when it came to management, participants were all over the the place. There really wasn't any consistent definition.
This confusion extends even into the business schools. In fact, professors tend to lack clarity about the fundamental differences between what a leader does and what a manager does.
One way to understand leadership and management is to imagine a Venn diagram. Most of the time, the two do not intersect. However, certain activities require both outstanding leadership and management skills. Three examples:
Project manager. One must ably manage the resources associated allocated to the project and while exercising leadership skills to build a strong team.
Delegation. Essentially, one must plan what to do and persuade someone to do it.
Change "Management." If one is putting a new light bulb in the socket, one can management that change. However, real organizational change has both a leadership and a management component.
Basic Definitions of Leadership and Management
"One cannot do what one cannot define."
One institution that never got the differences between managment and leadership confused is the U.S. military. One person who clearly knew what she was talking about was Grace Hopper. An interesting lady, she started in the Navy Waves in WW II and retired as a rear admiral. One story about her goes:
In the early days of computers, there was a great deal of mechanical parts and relays. One day, her engineers and programmers got into a big argument about whether the software was wrong or whether the hardware was messed up. She went pulled off a back panel and found an insect crawling in the electronics. This lead to the words, “There is a bug in the computer.”
Another saying attributed to her was, "It's better to seek forgiveness, than to ask for permission."
Leadership and Management Skills
"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts." — William Shakespeare As You Like It)
To understand the difference, it helpful to look at a role--not the thing you eat unfortunately. A role is a fairly standardized behavior. Technically, a social role is, "An expected behavior for a given individual that relates to social status and social position."
In a family environment, a woman plays the role of mother, aunt, sister, daughter, grandmother, lover, etc. as she goes through life. A man will play complementary roles, the father, uncle, son, brother and so on.
It's important to understand, that one also plays roles at work. For example, the Dictionary of Occupational Titles has thousands listed. In the professional category, many professions such as medicine and law have even have a number of specialty roles.
Certain roles function almost as a class. These include: employees (or workers), manager, executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and stockholders. Within the executive class, we have c-level roles such as: the CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, and so on.
Defining The Role of Manager
"Not one talks about managing fun and play." — Anonymous
Management focuses on work. We manage work activities such as money, time, paperwork, materials, equipment, etc. Management focus more on:
Logistics and the supply chain
Finance and money management
The first five (planning, organizing, controlling, directing, and coordinating) are often listed in the management 101 texts as the major functions of management. Certain conceptual skills such as decision making, strategy development, and problem solving seem to fit better in management verses the leadership area, but you can go either way..
Some professors like to say "Managers are decision makers." but that doesn't seem quite right. A better description is, "Executives are decision makers— manager’s are problem solvers."
However, some things some things should be managed and others should not. People should not be managed—it implies we threat them like a thing.
Comparison Chart of Leadership Skills and Management Skills
One way to understand leadership and management skills is to compare them on the basis of listing the types of skills each requries. For example, many think that planning is a leadership activity, when in reality it is about management. Vision is the skill that leaders have but managers lack. They are both important, but are really very mental processes.
It's vital for senior individuals in positions of great responsibility to be able to play both roles: the boss who cannot manage will kill an organization just as fast as one who cannot lead. But the person who can do both, they are on the path to success.
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