What’s The Difference Between Leadership And Management?

Leadership and management...the two terms are often used interchangeably and become confused and substituted for the other. If you are aspiring towards a leadership role as your career goal, it's important to understand the key differences between leaders and managers (yes, they're not essentially the same), so you can make an informed decision and know how to structure your professional development efforts towards your long-term goal.

Let's begin by understanding what leaders are, and are not.

What Is The Role Of A Leader?

Leaders set the overall vision for an organization. At the highest level, they formulate long-term strategies and plans to achieve that vision and operate with a birds-eye view of operations. They are usually not involved in the fine day-to-day details, but keep an eye on the market and evolving trends, and stay abreast with the industry and context they operate in so the organization can be more effective in its collective efforts.

Leaders must always plan ahead, and think about risk, public perception, and most importantly, communicating the vision to their teams so it can be translated into everyday practice. They rally the entire organization to get on board with their ideas and motivate them, and even external partners and stakeholders, towards a shared goal. Leaders are commonly responsible for outlining an organization's core values, policies, and ethics, and pass this down to the next set of people in charge to implement with their teams...managers.

What Is The Role Of A Manager?

Managers, on the other hand, are primarily responsible for organizing, planning, and aligning the efforts of team members and projects. They define what the vision looks like in practicality, and are entrusted with hiring, training, coaching, and overall performance supervision of the best people to perform the job.

They stay well on top of deadlines and ensure resources such as budgets and software are used effectively. Managers may often coordinate multiple departments as well, depending on their position within the company.

Where Do The Lines Blur?

There are times, however, when there is a crossover in the responsibilities between leaders and managers, and leaders assume some aspects of operational management responsibility (especially is this the case for start-ups with small teams or non-profits with limited budgets). In the same way, managers can often be required to be forward-thinking while also focusing on the nitty-gritty details. However, depending on the role you decide to pursue, there will be a greater emphasis on one set of skills—be it leadership or management—than the other.

While having both sets of skills is certainly helpful to the business and to your career, it is ideal to separate the two roles so that you avoid burnout.

What Leadership Skills Do I Need?

If your career aspiration is to work at the senior level of leadership, you will need to acquire and hone skills such as strong communication and transparency, strategic thinking, decisiveness, creativity, and the ability to manage other leaders in their own right—managers. You also need to be able to coach and empower, and have strong negotiation and persuasive skills to influence and win over key stakeholders, and gain the buy-in of your organization as a whole.

What Management Skills Do I Need?

Management skills are very similar, in that many of them overlap with leadership skills, but on a smaller remit. For example, team management skills are important, but you would usually not be as focused on managing teams of other managers. You would also not be required to worry too much about setting a three-year strategy.

However, when applying for a post as a manager, it is ideal that you have a leadership mindset and possess many of the above skills listed for leaders in addition to management skills, even if a career in leadership is not your overall aspiration. This proves that you are committed to professional development and being exceptional in your role. Some additional skills that are critical to your role as a manager include project management and solid organization, managing up, team motivation, building interpersonal relationships, active listening, workflow creation and streamlining, and delegation.

Whatever your career goals are, possessing management and leadership skills will enable you to shine in your career, progress up the ladder, become an attractive candidate for head-hunters, encourage numerous business opportunities, and provide you with overall career satisfaction as you ignite transformative change in business and in society.


Nguồn: Forbes
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