While many people think that leadership and management can mean the same thing, this isn't the case. Leaders and managers can possess some very different skills and characteristics. In this blog, we discuss the main differences between the two, whilst giving you an insight into the importance of having great leadership and management in a company.
The Differences Between Leadership & Management:
Leadership and management are considered to have some overlapping functions. Whilst this can be true in some cases, the two terms have very different meanings that shouldn't be used interchangeably, as both have a unique set of functions, characteristics, and skills. Both leadership and management show prominent differences in some circumstances - for example, some managers do not practice leadership, whilst others lead without having a managerial role.
A manager is typically someone who is chosen within an organisation, and in most cases, a manager is usually selected based on specific technical skills, knowledge, and their expertise. Whereas the greatest leadership skill is to simply influence and inspire people, this can be in a business or outside of a workplace.
In any workplace, it's important to have both great managers and leaders. Businesses need to have good leaders to be able to achieve their missions and visions - they also need great managers so that the daily tasks are completed, whilst their teams continue to stay aligned with company goals.
But what are the key differences between them?
Setting the Mission vs Following It.
When it comes down to setting and executing a company's mission and vision, leaders and managers have different roles.
Leaders are seen as 'visionary' - most of them will have a clear vision and plan of where they want their organisation to be in the future. Although, the leaders aren't the only ones that are responsible for making the vision come to life.
This is where managers have a crucial part to play. Managers are responsible for keeping their employees aligned with the core values and goals of the company. According to Ving, 71% of employees believe that their leaders don't spend enough time communicating these goals and plans of the company.
While managers are the ones that can influence people to work towards the same objectives in the company, many employees agree with the fact that their company doesn't do the best job communicating these company goals across - and most employees want and will expect to be informed about how their organisation is doing and where it's heading.
By speaking openly about your company's goals, challenges, and opportunities, leaders are the people who can build this trust in the workplace. They're also able to foster a productive work environment which will help to make employees feel empowered to contribute their own ideas, needs and concerns. Typically, the more transparent leaders are, the healthier the working environment will become.
Ideas vs Execution.
Whilst a managerial culture can emphasise rationality and control, when it comes down to leaders, they look for opportunities for improvement on an organisational level. To put it simply, managers look for answers to the questions how and when, whereas leaders will look for answers to what and why.
Consequently, a managers' main responsibility is to fulfil their tasks that are based on the leader's vision. The main job from a manager is to ensure that employees who function differently and have different responsibilities, ultimately operate efficiently, productively, and openly.
Managers typically relate to employees according to the role they play in the decision-making process, whilst leaders tend to relate in more empathetic ways. The main difference is between a manager's attention to how things are done, and a leader's attention to what should be done to achieve better results.
Since leaders usually look for new ideas, they could play a crucial role in driving change in an organisation. Furthermore, a leader is someone who can inspire positive, incremental change by empowering their team to work towards shared objectives - the most powerful tool to use is simply efficient communication.
Shaping Culture vs Endorsing It.
Company culture is based upon values, beliefs, and different behaviours that can help to shape and determine how an organisation will operate and achieve their missions and goals. When it comes down to a company's culture, leaders will usually define and shape the culture, whereas the managers will lead their employees to maintain this.
It's a leader's duty to show the core values and beliefs of the company's culture through their actions, communication, and final decisions. These leaders will have the power to communicate the culture and influence employees' behaviours. Their skills and leadership styles play a big part on how employees use the culture, whilst the managers role is to continuously support and endorse it within their teams.
The Importance & How They Work Together.
It's essential that businesses should try and make the most of both managers and leaders. This could mean hiring or promoting employees who prove themselves to be both a strong leader and manager, as these people do exist.
For example, if someone can demonstrate having strong leadership potential - by having influential and innovative qualities - they might thrive in a role that will allow them to use their creativity. Someone who's a manager - that can offer great project management and efficiency - will thrive in a role that will require being highly detail-oriented and hands-on. There are plenty of roles in a company that will be a great fit for someone who's either a stronger leader or a stronger manager - sometimes even both, it's down to a well written job description to highlight the key attributes that are needed.
Recognising and nurturing leadership and management traits in all your employees can help your business to be more resilient and adaptable, all whilst giving your staff plenty of opportunities to grow and develop in their careers.
Let us know what you think about this discussion!