Management Skills – What’s The Difference Between Leadership and Management?

Management vs LeadershipWhat’s the difference between a manager and a leader?

Ideally they overlap.  We expect many of our managers to be leaders, and we rely on a large percentage of our leaders to have solid management skills.

But not all managers are good leaders, and not all leaders possess the required skills to be managers.

I’m sure you’ve heard of, or even used, the ‘best widget maker’ example.  When you lose the manager of the widget making team, there’s a strong urge to promote the best widget maker into the vacancy.  But the skills that make her the best widget maker might not help her be the best manager.

It’s the same way with leadership and management.  A person with great leadership skills might need additional development when placed in a managerial role.

To see this first hand, let’s compare the core attributes of leaders and managers directly.

Leadership Attributes

Management Attributes

1. Envisioning an Outcome
Leading begins with realizing and clearly envisioning the overall mission to accomplish. A mission is what is going to happen, not how. Realizing your mission leads to the understanding of where change is required and why it is needed now.
1. Human Resource Management
“Is John an effective manager of  others?” This measures John’s ability to find, develop and retain the people that are vital to both his and his company’s success.
2. Understanding Your Supporters
Understanding how your vision satisfies peoples’ perceived needs is crucial to engage them. You must know what changes others are receptive to and ready for.
2. Performance Management
“Can John keep others focused?” Closely tied to Human Resource Management, this category expands that examination of John’s abilities to include his aptitude for motivating others to success. This involves his ability to be aware of others, convey a role’s value, gain  commitment and understand the motivational needs of others.
3. Communicating Your Vision
In order to engage people to follow you must clearly communicate your vision to them. The most powerful movements for change are created by people who have an emotional commitment to the mission and are passionate about it. Therefore you must be able to communicate with people not just through logical arguments, but in a way that touches them emotionally.
3. Personal Motivators
“What drives John?” Different cognitive values cause John to have a different motivation. There are no “good” or “bad” scores in this category. Instead, these score are an indication of the degree of influence that each of the six personal motivators exert.
4. Serving Others
People will not chase a difficult dream for very long unless they think it supports their own personal goals. You must insure that people connect both your vision and your actions with their own goals.
4. Planning and Organizing
“Is John an effective planner and organizer?” This category measures John’s conceptual abilities and how he applies them to organizing and setting direction. These include: long-range planning ability, concrete organizing, proactive thinking and being able to see the big picture.
5. Inspiring Others
Embarking on difficult and uncertain journeys requires a special kind of energy in order to continue for the long term. Inspiration draws forth that special energy that can only come from an the individual. Therefore, leading others for the long term requires you are able to recognize and bring this energy.
5. Production Management
“How well does John handle the dual responsibilities of managing human and physical resources?” Effectively managing both people and production requires a unique blend of abilities including: project scheduling, problem/situation analysis, problem solving ability, results orientation, quality orientation, and problem management.
6. Guiding Others
In taking action and moving toward completion of your mission and vision, there will inevitably be surprises and unexpected results. A person skilled in leading will continually assess the plan for achieving the stated goals and make course corrections along the way.
6. Self Management
“Is John an effective manager of John?” This category takes a look at how John manages himself, and the capacities he possesses to allow him to develop himself.
7. Developing Yourself
In order to understand, motivate and lead others, you must first understand yourself. Leaders must practice what they preach and be able to see and develop themselves before they can do so for others.

As you can see, leadership and management attributes are fairly independent.  Leadership attributes are more attuned with emotional intelligence and aspiring others to share a common vision.  Management attributes are focused on more practical matters, but also deal with internal aspects such as self-management.

I hope you see the implications of this: holistic professional development may need to address leadership AND management training independently.

About The Author

Sandy Cormack

Sandy Cormack is the managing director of Strategic Diagnostics LLC. He specializes in diagnosing organizational problems to dramatically increase effectiveness of hiring, individual and organizational performance.

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