Managers predict the future; leaders create it. Management is about process; leadership is about people. Management controls results through people; leadership motivates them by satisfying evolving human needs. While there are differences between them, these two concepts and their constellations of abilities are not polar opposites.
Firms need both structure and freedom to produce creativity and innovation in today’s network organizations. Both leadership and management skills can be learned, both evolve as the organization itself evolves.
Differing leadership skills, not management techniques, are needed at different stages of a firm’s growth.
The directive leader of the past was a doer. Getting results; i.e. making money and ensuring shareholder value was the requirement for success. These often larger than life titans of industry were directive decision makers and were operationally savvy. Tomorrow’s leaders are predicted to be of a different cut. They are not as involved in the day-to-day operating details, but rather focus their attention on ensuring “the right people are talking to one another about the right things and have the right tools to what they decide needs doing.”
The shift in leadership for firms going through the corridor of crisis is from a focus on efficiency to one on effectiveness. This means that when an infrastructure of good management controls are in place to align vision and purpose, then attention needs to be paid to how to make the firm more effective, i.e. make sure it’s doing the right things.
That takes leadership. An impressive study created through hundreds of interviews by Anderson Consulting called “The Evolving Role of Executive Leadership” tried to create a profile of the global leader of the future. Their conclusion was that vision, values, and setting priorities top the list, but emerging requirements called for building alliances with other organizations, building partnerships across the company, and treating people with respect.
The leader who fails to recognize the differences between leadership, qualitative skills, and management, and thus never learns to use them in parallel, may never give the outstanding performance he or she is capable of giving. Simply put, managers typically excel at planning, organizing, delegating, and reviewing. They focus on “what is” and rely on financials, hard numbers, facts, rules, schedules, and experience as the basis of decision-making. Good management controls complexity; effective leadership produces change. Leaders visualize larger possibilities for their organizations, emphasizing “what could be” and relying on the present for help in making future-oriented decisions. They inspire others through their own high commitment to their beliefs, encourage others through coaching-mentoring, and communicate with others constantly, enrolling others in a shared vision.
Another way to describe this distinction are that things are managed, but people are led; managers are concerned with doing things efficiently and well while leaders look into the future, doing the right things that enable their firms to be more effective.
Obviously, the ideal is a combination of both, or a management leader. These individuals are practical and risk takers, analytical and intuitive, planners, and visionaries. In any phase of organization evolution, management leadership requires high physical contact with people and high participation. It also requires good skills of influencing people. To influence others, management leaders must find a shared vision existing of first, mutual respect, and support for other people’s views.
- Where To Look If Your Employer Doesn’t Help You Build Your Management Skills (businessinsider.com)
- Defining Leadership – A Slippery Slope (dougnewmanpro.wordpress.com)
- Leadership – going through the levels [Mike Morrison] (ecademy.com)
- Leadership, the Lone Worker and Getting Things Done (wisewolftalking.com)
- Bernie Bulkin: About Leadership: Changing Jobs (huffingtonpost.com)
- Lessons for Leaders from the People Who Matter (Followers) (leaderswedeserve.wordpress.com)
- Leadership development a priority for the New Year (money-advice.co.uk)