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Leadership and Management

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 5 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Leadership And Management

There is an old proverb which says “Leadership is doing the right thing, whereas management is doing things right”. While ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ are often used interchangeably, especially in business and the workplace, to describe someone who is in charge of a team of people, they can in fact have very different meanings.

Characteristics of a Manager

A manager is typically someone who is given authority through the nature of their role and their responsibility is to ensure that work is completed by managing the activities of others and focusing on day-to-day tasks in the workplace. Their great skill is their ability to organise people to accomplish tasks and their focus on tactical activities, even if this means that they may have a more controlling and directive approach. This can be especially beneficial in a fast-paced business environment and workplace.

Managers usually focus on the following:

  • Planning
  • Organizing,
  • Controlling
  • Coordinating
  • Directing
  • Resource use
  • Time management
  • Logistics and the supply chain
  • Finance and money management
  • Budgeting
  • Strategy
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving

Many managers achieved their position through promotion as reward for being the highest-achieving employee; however, this does not necessarily mean that they can rise to the challenge of managing people in the workplace. The best managers are also leaders and this is what sets them apart.

Characteristics of a Leader

Unlike managers who have more of a tactical focus, leaders are more strategically-focused. While a manager gains authority through their role, a leader achieves innate authority, just through their approach and ways of dealing with others in the workplace. In addition, rather that directing followers through tasks, they instead inspire and motivate followers to drive themselves. Leaders also focus more on change – they are interested in continual improvement towards a future goal, rather than just managing their team to maintain the present.

Leaders focus more on the following:

  • Vision
  • Inspiration
  • Persuasion
  • Motivation
  • Relationships
  • Team work
  • Listening

As well as relationship-building activities in the workplace such as:

  • Counselling,
  • Coaching,
  • Teaching,
  • Mentoring.

Leadership Vs. Management

Perhaps the biggest distinction between leadership and management is the way they motivate people to follow them or work for them, especially in the workplace. In general, managers have “subordinates” and use the power vested in them by the organisation to get their subordinates to work for them in a transactional relationship, i.e.. the subordinates do as they are told for the promise of a reward (e.g., their salary). Managers often tend to be risk-aversive and seek to avoid conflict whenever possible – they generally try to maintain the “status quo” in the workplace.

In contrast, leaders have “followers” instead of subordinates because following is a voluntary activity and leaders get people to act by appealing to them and inspiring them to follow, even if this means going into situations of risk which they would not normally consider. Leaders use charisma to promise transformational benefits, so that their followers not only do things for material rewards but also to become transformed into “better people”. They understand the importance of enthusing others to work towards a common vision.

Furthermore, leaders often seem more risk-seeking – they expect to confront problems and hurdles in their pursuit of their vision and they will break rules in order to achieve their goal. They also see routes that other may avoid as potential opportunities for advantage.

Leadership AND Management

To be truly effective and fully-rounded, especially in the workplace, you should be aiming to combine both the leadership and management strengths. You should be able to manage day-to-day tasks and deliver results but at the same time, see the opportunity for change and keep the big picture in mind. Just having good leadership skills without management means that you might not have the ability of realise your visions. Similarly, a good manager who does not have leadership skills will have continual problems motivating the team and producing results. Being able to blend these two styles is the ultimate aim.

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Good material, very very helpful. thank you so much, look forward for more such useful info. tnx
uday - 25-Aug-12 @ 8:36 AM
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