Leadership and Management Skills, are they the same ?

Read our article to find out some useful insights in leadership and management skills

Can all managers lead? Can Leaders manage? Many people ask these questions because of the close relationship between the two.  Many people assume leadership and management are the same thing – but are they?

Different perspectives can be used to define the term “management.” However generally management is defined as an organisational process that constitutes setting objectives, strategic planning, resource management, deploying financial and people and teams to achieve goals, and measuring the outcomes. In addition to that management is usually involves conducting operational affairs of a business, moving towards its objective through a continuous process of improvement and optimisation of resources.  You could summarise Management as the “art of getting things done through people”.

Leadership, on the other hand, can be defined as the act of influencing people or ‘followers’ in order to achieve certain objectives or goals. Organisations tend to operate in unique ways depending on the attributes of the people that are in true leadership positions.  Their behaviour is often ‘infectious’ and is spread throughout the business.  This can be good and bad as it is generally down to an individual’s personal characteristics.  Therefore, the leadership style of an individual often directly affects organisational satisfaction and commitment.

Let explore the differences in more detail – managers first.

There are specific concepts associated to management within organisations. For instance, managers must not only clearly identify their roles and skills, so they can apply them in the best possible way and with minimal disruption. Managers should know this is a process that requires them to be ready to develop initiatives and processes that can encourage team participation in an organisation and that they should provide informational, interpersonal, and decisional guidance to the employees in a given organisation or department. In addition to that managers should encourage ‘systemisation’ and automation – so that efficiencies and processes are developed to encourage an environment of rapid thinking and action.

Managers must also ensure that there is ‘limitless’ learning within their organisations. Constant Learning in an organisation leads to long term success as the individuals who are more ‘rounded’ and less dependent on their colleagues for answers or solutions. Therefore, managers must ensure that they provide learning opportunities in their organisations to equip their staff members effectively with the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours required to deliver effectively - and crucially to innovate. In addition to that, managers must know how to initiate and implement change in their organisations.

And what about leaders? What qualities do they bring?

Similar to management, there are also specific concepts that are tied to leadership. Leadership generally has to do with exercising appropriate authority (that sounds scary or formidable – but it really isn’t). Leaders must be excellent role models to their followers (I use the term followers deliberately as this is how leadership truly works) in order to earn respect.

Allot of us have seen the video of the enthusiastic chap at a music festival – whereby he starts a huge dance party.   It’s often used to explain the differences between managers and leaders – whereby leaders often create a ‘movement’ rather than putting structures in-place.  For those of you who haven’t seen the video – you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA8z7f7a2Pk

It's Interesting to note –that the 1st ‘follower’ is often the manager.

Leaders must be able to influence or change the beliefs, values, and behaviours of their followers. Leaders should, therefore, also give clear direction and be able to initiate and implement change. A good leader is well versed with different leadership styles and wisely combines their best practices to deliver the best for their organisations.  Most often – leaders are entrepreneurial.  Generally, there are two major classifications of leaders: transformational leaders and transactional leaders. Transformational leadership raises awareness of subjects around what is important, their ideals, and concerns for achievement. On the other hand, transactional leaders seek to accomplish the personal desires for the business. They often make promises to their team (and keep them hopefully!), regularly meet with them, and they are usually successful at convincing the masses.

In Summary

Now we can clearly see the differences between what makes a good leader and manager, we can see that management is a process that involves leading as one of its stages; while on the other hand, leading is an exercise that deals with control and direction of people.  We can summarise management as the process of:

On the other hand, leading provides direction and focus on others, and they motivate them to achieve organisational goals.  Generally, leadership abilities are a ‘natural ability’ – i.e leaders are just being themselves. Good Leadership, seeks to align the organisation, communicate the mission, vision and the direction the organisation must take, influences the creation of teams, partnerships and shows high emotion.  Good leadership can be summarised as:

Other distinctions between management and leadership lie in the fact that the management plans and budgets, develops process steps and establishes timelines, and displays an impersonal attitude about the vision and goals of an organisation. On the other hand, leadership sets the direction, creates the organisational strategic plans, and shows passion about the vision and goals of the organisation. In addition, management organises the organisation’s staff and maintains organisational structure, delegates authority and responsibility, and implements the vision.

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