Leadership and management are two very different terms that people often mix together. More and more jobs and careers are calling upon managers to be leaders and to develop their leadership skills, and yet, leaders and managers both are very distinct in their separate roles.
A leader can help to manage at times, and a manager can help to lead at times, but it is important to understand the vital difference between these two types of people.
If you want to find success in your own life, then you need to learn to be a bit of both.
Is “the function that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives by using available resources efficiently and effectively.”
Management deals with resources, planning, organization, and delegating tasks; it is the practice of working out the details, making a plan, and ensuring that the plan gets carried out as designed.
Management requires critical thinking and excellent attention to detail, but it doesn’t usually demand managers to come up with new and groundbreaking ideas and concepts.
Managers provide structure, they ensure that you dot your i’s and cross your t’s, and they make sure that protocols are being followed right down to the last command; because of this, managers often end up being disliked by the people below them, and even highly effective and kind managers will likely have to deal with people trying to challenge their authority. Managers, however, are often somewhat immune to criticism, because they are just “following orders”.
Is the ability to of a person of authority to set positive examples, blaze new paths to success, and ultimately to motivate and influence others.
Leaders often are forced to make tough decisions that others aren’t faced with, and how they face these issues can end up defining what type of leader they become. Dealing with adversity successfully will place a leader on a pedestal, while failure will often draw harsh criticism from their followers.
Leaders usually don’t face as many small details and tasks as managers do, but leaders are often challenged to look at the “bigger picture”; they must be willing to adapt to new trends and obstacles, and they have to be willing at times to simply be an example of how others should behave and react.
While managers are often criticized more easily than leaders, leaders often possess a special air about them that people seem mesmerized by. Leaders are often charismatic, highly creative, and at times they can be arrogant.
An example of the difference between leadership and management…
Let us imagine that a timber company just got a contract to cut down forest in an untouched section of Africa, but they must ensure that animals species are relocated and that trees are replanted.
The “leader” of the company might fly out to the jungle, look at the terrain, get a rough idea of what tools and supplies workers might need. They will create a guiding policy letting managers and employees know what things to watch out for and how the company should conduct itself in the forest. “Employees should be on high alert for animals: both for the animals and for the workers safety. Each tree taken down should be immediately replaced with new seeds, and we must strive to rebuild this forest that we take from (treat it as you would treat your own home).
Next, the managers would work with the leadership to develop policies and rules that will ensure that workers understand what is expected of them, how they can best perform their jobs, and also how to uphold the standards and expectations of the company.
As the managers implement their policies and train employees on the proper procedure of their jobs, the effective leader must continually interpret feedback from their employees and managers, and do their best to visit the “front lines” to see in what ways business can be improved, and all the while they must also see the bigger picture of what is best for the company at all times.
The manager’s job is to ensure that people follow the leader’s vision, and the leader’s job is to figure out how best to steer a group of people in order to find success for the group.
A good manager:
Listens to the people that they manage, they look for new ways to improve the process, they offer kindness and understanding (but also discipline or counseling when needed), they make sure that business reflects the vision of the leadership, and they work closely with leadership in order to improve business as much as possible.
A good leader:
Is not afraid to be out on the front lines, they reflect the values of their group and look out for the group’s best interest at all times, they figure out what things are best for the group, they lead by example, they motivate others, and they are open enough to listen to the feedback of managers and other followers.
Being a manager, and being a leader, are at times, very different jobs
While each of us should strive to become better leaders and better managers, each set of skills has powerful benefits for our lives. Leadership skills make us more creative, better at working with others, and better able to see the larger picture in life; while management skills help us to better manage ourselves and others, pay attention to fine details, and creates rules and regulations for ourselves and others that ensure success.
Within each of us, we must learn to be both managers and leaders. We must lead ourselves towards our own destinies, be unafraid to face adversity, and constantly try to live as the person we desire to be; but, we must also we willing to manage ourselves by setting helpful routines, creating positive habits, and doing whatever is needed to ensure that we act behave as our best self.
It takes the courage to be the leader of your own life, and then the discipline of a manager to ensure that you stay on track.
Are you a leader, a manager, or just a follower? Which type of person would you like to be?
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