What’s the distinction between effective leadership and effective management? Plenty has been written comparing the attributes found in leadership and management. But does it really matter when running an organization? Perhaps it’s beneficial to combine the skills found in both leadership and management to be most effective.
Leading and managing are two sides of the same coin. The style of a leader and that of a manager are both necessary ingredients in running a successful business. Leading tends to be more focused on the people side of the business organization. A good leader inspires people to believe in him or her; a great leader inspires people to believe in themselves. In other words, the art of leadership focuses on building relationships and being able to influence others to follow as you chart a course.
According to research studies, management is often viewed to be more of a craft. It’s more skill based, like cooking or carpentry. The skills include orchestrating operational procedures that need to be proficiently demonstrated on a daily basis. Managers are necessary in keeping the operational systems running smoothly as well as monitoring the financial numbers. We find managers need to be more task oriented.
But there is nothing better than an inspiring leader. When the going gets tough within the business, it’s gratifying to have a motivating voice and an optimistic leadership presence.
Warren Bennis is known for being a leadership guru. In his classic, On Becoming a Leader , he describes the differences between managers and leaders. According to Bennis:
- The manager administers; the leader innovates.
- The manager maintains; the leader develops.
- The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
- The manager imitates; the leader originates.
- The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
Are you a leader, a manager, or a blend of both? Becoming a more effective leader requires some self-reflection. Time is well spent learning how to think about the people with whom you work, and crafting how you communicate the vision of where you are asking them to follow. As you develop your most effective leadership style, consider leadership coaching. Becoming a more effective manager takes time as you learn the business operations, and how to navigate within your industry’s trends. In addition, managers are known for setting benchmarks for business development and interacting with the people to see that their talents are used appropriately.
Whether you prefer the leadership or management side of the coin, continuous learning is always required. Practice your listening skills to learn what employees and customers are saying. Stay curious about how to improve both business strategies and operational systems. Model behavior you expect from others in the organization and hold yourself accountable for moving your business forward.
Building solid working relationships with your team is a learned skill and one that you cannot afford to neglect. So, listening to others’ advice, staying open to new ideas, modeling appropriate behavior, and remaining accountable will take you far. The combination of both effective leadership skills and management skills is valuable and far more useful than either alone. In this changing business environment, great leaders are always in demand.