Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Leadership vs. Management

I've spent a great deal of time recently helping lead my new team. I've done this in a variety of ways, leading by example, setting high standards, and providing accountability.  I've been thinking a great deal about my leadership style and how in the past, the team wasn't led, they were managed.  There exists a large chasm between management and leadership. If you've ever experienced them both, you know the difference is palpable. Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.

In fact, management is a set of well-known processes, like planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, measuring performance and problem-solving, which help an organization to predictably do what it knows how to do well. Management helps you to produce products and services as you have promised, of consistent quality, on budget, day after day, week after week. In organizations of any size and complexity, this is an enormously difficult task. We constantly underestimate how complex this task really is, especially if we are not in senior management jobs. So, management is crucial — but it’s not leadership. You can't lead and micromanage at the same time, if you do, you must be exhausted.

Leadership is entirely different. It is associated with taking an organization into the future, finding opportunities that are coming at it faster and faster and successfully exploiting those opportunities. Leadership is about vision, about people buying in, about empowerment and, most of all, about producing useful change. Leadership is not about attributes, it’s about behavior. And in an ever-faster-moving world, leadership is increasingly needed from more and more people, no matter where they are in a hierarchy. The notion that a few extraordinary people at the top can provide all the leadership needed today is ridiculous, and it’s a recipe for failure.

 Many people, by the way, are both. They have management jobs, but they realize that you cannot buy hearts, especially to follow them down a difficult path, and so act as leaders too. I'm a great project manager, I do whatever it takes to get the job done, but I love to lead along the way. Managers are at times, Leaders, so the paradox never ends. Your task is to adopt the correct style when either leading or managing.

How do you see management and leadership in practice at your organization? How do they manifest themselves? Which do you prefer to be? I would love to hear your comments. 

Cheers,
Lynne

5 comments:

  1. Love this one. very helpful..

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  2. Favorite line: You can't lead and micromanage at the same time, if you do, you must be exhausted.

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  3. Thanks so much everyone! I enjoyed writing this one!

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