One of the most asked questions I get in my 1:1 coaching sessions is “Mak, you talk a lot about leadership. But I don’t understand what’s the difference between leadership and management?”
This is an excellent question! And I’m not surprised it tops the list on what confuses many.
I had the same question too. I mean I used to think to myself – ‘well I got promoted to manager, so I must automatically be a leader right?’ Wrong.
Leadership and management are separate skills.
In today’s video I’ll be answering this question by breaking down the differences of these two very important skills and discussing key leadership vs management characteristics.
Click the play button below to find out more!
But first, to really help you stand out in your new role I highly recommend downloading the New Manager Starter Kit. A free downloadable interactive guide to help you show up and stand out and take the right action steps.
Now the first big call out I want to make is that as it relates to leadership skills and management skills is that they are both needed in order to effectively lead your team.
But if you’ve been following me sometime, then you know I talk about leadership quite a bit.
The reason is because we unfortunately have a lot of managers that operate from a space where they lack leadership skills and sadly so many people are affected by this.
One of the things that’s important to know is that while not every leader needs to have management skills every manager needs to have leadership skills.
As a manager you are dealing with precious lives.
This is why it’s so important to develop leadership skills as a manager.
Now as I’m going through the leadership vs management characteristics you might find that as a manager you exhibit skills from one side more than the other.
If that’s the case, I don’t want you to beat up on yourself, instead I want to challenge you to work on developing the skills that need a little bit of a lift 😉
Before I start listing out the characteristics it’s important to know right off the bat that one major difference between a manager and a leader is that one requires a title and the other doesn’t.
So a manager is someone that has that title as it relates to management whereas a leader doesn’t always have a title.
A leader can be literally anyone on the team.
In fact as leadership expert Simon Sinek says “Leadership is a choice, not a rank. It’s choosing to look out for the person on your left and to look out for the person on your right.”
So again no “promotion” necessary to be a leader.
Here are some of the key leadership vs management characteristics!
A manager’s typical style of communication is to tell their people what they should do.
For example, if there is some sort of process change or some sort of added workload a manager will most likely just communicate what that is.
A manager might send you an email or update you in a team meeting that moving forward you will be answering calls for two different regions, give you a date and what is expected of you and that’s pretty much it.
A manager’s focus is generally on the system.
Part of a system are the processes and tasks.
So managers are typically very task oriented, which means they spend a lot of time in the day to day.
Assigning tasks to people and looking for ways to improve processes by making sure that everyone complies with the standards is a big part of a managers day. This is usually where the holding people accountable comes in.
A manager also spends a lot of time tracking and measuring which means a large part of the role is generating and analyzing reporting.
The purpose of this is to figure out how to get maximum outputs for the inputs. So they are looking to maximize productivity for efficiency.
Due to the fact that managers are very steeped in the day to day tasks, they are often the ones reacting to change as it happens. This of course is a major disadvantage.
All in all a manager is very tactical. Think schedules, budgets, and resource allocation.
A leader thinks in terms of purpose, vision and mission.
A leader will think about why and generally ask themselves at the start:
A leader will then take that why define it and communicate it with their team members then then help team members understand the importance of what they do.
Their aim is to give team members a sense of purpose and this energy that is created is exactly what people want to follow.
A leader will strive to take their people from here (starting point) on a mission to the vision by means of motivating, inspiring, influencing.
Rather than control, they choose mentorship and empowerment.
Since leaders spend far less time in the weeds or typical day to day tasks they are able to respond rather than react which allows them to be proactive.
Leaders think effectiveness over efficiency. And are willing to take risks to test out their hypothesis.
A leader will most often model the behaviour they desire to see by being the first ones to display the values on a daily basis.
All in all a leader is people oriented. Think clear communication, transparent, emotions, transformational and motivating.
Like I mentioned at the very beginning, there is a need for managers in particular to have a combination of both skills.
For example, a manager’s tasks will never get done properly where there is a lack of energy and motivation as it is people that are doing the work, not robots.
People are emotional beings and so although it is a place of work, an element humanity needs to be infused into the day to day if you really want to get things done.
Let me know in the comment section below which side of the spectrum you lean towards and don’t be shy!
Also leave one action step that you are going to take to develop the skills that you notice are a little bit lacking.
Join the FREE Masterclass: How to Build a High-Performance Team as a New Manager
June 9, 2020