Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Management and Leadership: What's the Difference?

What's the Difference Between Management and Leadership?

By: Jason Willey 

Management and LeadershipLeadership is one of the most researched and published topics over the past 20 years.  Right now, you can walk into almost any book store and find 25-100 books on leadership best practices, tips, tricks, do’s and don’ts.  But how is this different than the topic of management?  Isn't a manager a leader and vice versa?  

Some still think so, but we beg to differ.

Management and Leadership Differences

You might be thinking, "Wait, is this one of those 'a manager can be a leader, but a leader can’t be a manager' things?"  Not really. Management, in its basic form is progressing throughout the workday with little to no incident.  Most managers work to make sure things stay the same and their employees do their job.  Their primary focus is to oversee the day to day activities of their staff and make sure things run smoothly.  

Leadership takes it a step further. Leadership is having a “strategic mindset” versus a “day to day mindset.” Leaders develop a vision; they rally the troops and make big things happen.  Leaders push the boundaries, break through barriers and forge new paths!  Leaders find ways to not only meet the goal, but surpass it.  

Effective leaders also have people willingly following them. John Maxwell once said, “If you think you are a leader, but no one is following you, you’re just taking a walk.”   

An easy way to think of the difference between the two is: management is working in a “one to one” relationship, versus leadership, which is a “one to many” relationship.  

Using Work of Leaders to Help Define Management and Leadership

One of our customers, a human resource director from a major quality of life corporation, is currently running an eight month Management Leadership Training (MLT) course with her high level employees.  She is using the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders assessment to help her people understand that leadership is about seeing the big picture and understanding how to effectively move yourself, and your people, to a better place. Telling your employees, "You may be a manager now, but we want you to be a leader tomorrow" has to have a positive effect on their outlook, don't you think?

She says, “The first class in the MLT discusses the difference between Management and Leadership.  You can really see the participants start to grasp the concept of leadership!” The Work of Leaders assessment helps with this and focuses on leadership in three areas: Crafting a Vision, Building Alignment and Champion Execution.  Based on your answers to the assessment, you may have strengths or weaknesses in these areas. Learning this information helps to build self-awareness and most importantly, awareness of the difference between management and leadership.


Don’t just manage the status quo, strive to be a leader.  Your world needs more leaders!

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