The Difference Between Managing and Leading

All too often the definitions of management and leadership get blurred and somewhat confused. Although both certainly complement one another, it’s important to understand that management and leadership are two completely different roles, incorporating different skills and focused on achieving different goals. In this article we will explore the difference between managing and leading.

Management

Management is a vital part of any organisation; its main role is to guide organisations towards goal accomplishment. Managers achieve this through the implementation of structure and process, along with the delegation of activities, in order to drive the successful accomplishment of goals and targets.

By nature, the role of a manager relies heavily on skills such as:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Organisation
  • Strong communication
  • Delegation
  • Decision making

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but these are certainly skills and characteristics that must be present in the make-up of any successful manager. Managers need to be able to deal well under pressure, be able to think fast and make the right decisions in ever changing circumstances. 

A manager’s relationship with their team is one of authority, built on mutual respect and understanding. A manager needs to be able to ensure that their commands are understood, successfully executed and gain the necessary results. This can only be achieved when authority is recognised and respected.

In order to gain that respect, though, a manager must earn it through trustworthiness, credibility, and transparency. Of course, simply being a nice human being won’t hurt as well!

Leadership

Strong leadership is also a vital part of any organisation. The role of a leader is to inspire and motivate; helping to spread the visions and values of the organisation whilst introducing change and innovation. As a result, leadership is a major factor in ensuring employee retention, organisational growth, and organisational change.

Leadership is not a role suited to everyone, in order to become a good leader it is more important to possess pivotal characteristics and personality traits, than it is to have developed definable skills like managers do, these include:

  • Passion
  • Drive
  • Confidence
  • Trustworthiness
  • Empathy

Again, this list is not exhaustive and you can read more about What Makes a Great Leader here, but generally, great leaders are those that understand the importance of building relationships with their team in order to help inspire, motivate and ensure that organisational visions and values are being aligned throughout.

As you can imagine, the relationships between leaders and their team differs greatly than that of a manager. It’s important that your team believe in you before they will truly follow you. This can only be achieved when genuine relationships have been established; therefore being the sort of person that people trust and warm to help you gain the necessary respect and loyalty needed to become a strong leader.

Being Manager and Leader

It is possible and in some cases, such as that of a small company or start-up, necessary to be both a manager and a leader. However, the basic principle remains; you need to understand the difference between both roles and know when to apply each to certain situations in order to gain the best from your team.

To find out about more about how Momenta Performance Academy can help you and your organisation with management and leadership development Click Here.