Leadership and Management in Your Business

MGMTvsLDRSHP html 98f0da7bLeadership and Management in Your Business in an executive role, whether it be in business or other types of organizations, success will likely come from skills developed both as a manager and a leader. Surprisingly, many people don’t understand the distinction between the two and often times don’t apply the proper methods for some of the challenges they face.

Are You a Leader or Manager?

There are some classic differences between the two. Managers plan, manage, execute and coordinate while leaders establish a vision, inspire and motivate. Another distinction is that leaders lead people and managers handle tasks. The terms also represent the type of relationship desired. Leaders create a vision and then lead employees helping them achieve it as well as their personal goals, while managing is more about administration and making sure the daily tasks and business requirements are being accomplished.

Which do you have to be to get ahead? Answer – Both. Are most leaders good managers and most managers good leaders? Not all the time. Why is that? Because good management and good leadership require different skill sets, with some overlap.

In the big picture, the world needs both leaders and managers. Different endeavors will require some of both but, at any given moment, may need more of one than the other.

Leadership Requirements for Success

Leaders rally people’s allegiance around a vision and then inspire them to take action. To do this, they need to be seen as honest and of high integrity or people will not buy the dream or trust the leader enough to follow him or her. Leaders need to create, communicate and build passion in others for a credible direction, a direction that needs to be big and bold and challenges the status quo. Leadership is about stirring emotions of trust, excitement and a can-do spirit.

Business Management

Management is equally challenging as this is where the execution of the strategy necessary to achieve the vision must take place. We’re talking plans, roadmaps, process charts, segmenting work, identifying tasks, monitoring progress and making the hundreds of midcourse corrections needed to adapt the strategy to numerous challenges embedded in current reality. It is also more than just “the work”, it too involves the harnessing and direction of people’s efforts – assessing their resource needs, coordinating the activities of many, listening intently to their experiences and involving them in the work at hand.

Executive Managers Are Important

It’s been said that organizations need leaders at the top and managers below. I disagree. Recent organizational theory asserts that lower level managers are much more effective when they spend their time and energy using leadership skills in their daily activities. Conversely, senior executives who bear the burden of organizational leadership are sometimes undermined in their work when they have insufficient management skills to keep the organization on track.

Perhaps a final dimension to the picture is that success in group activities will certainly require both leadership and management skills. Executives will need to develop and exercise skills in both, and their ultimate challenge is to know when and how to apply the aspects required for the situation at hand.  For instance, an executive who is micro-managing a very capable team will hold back the performance of that team due to their high level of involvement and should step back into the visionary and inspirational roles of a leader.

Can You Become a Leader?

There has always been some dispute about whether one can be trained to be a leader. You may have heard that “You can train people to be good managers, but leaders are born that way.” I disagree. While personality assessments and behavioral studies have supported that statement, it is not certain or totally pre-destined. With the amount of instructional information, coaching and mentoring available, anyone can develop into an effective leader. The business world is rich with examples of somewhat shy, introverted engineers, accountants and administrative assistants finding a contagious passion for their inventions and have become very inspirational leaders.

Bottom line, leadership and management are learned skills and behaviors. To be successful, it is important for executives and aspiring executives to understand the differences between the two, develop skills in both areas and be adept at applying both dependent on the situation.