Leadership vs. Management

There is a difference between leading your employees and managing your employees. How can talent managers know when to tap into the different talent wells to efficiently lead or manage their teams? A recent TalentManagement.com blog post, from Herb Greenberg and Patrick Sweeney, addresses this issue.

When a situation gets sticky, talent managers will quickly learn their hidden strengths and weaknesses. As the economic situation begins to brighten, senior leaders and executives can begin to breathe again – – and reflect on what unfurled while holding their breath. This ‘Great Recession’ gives leaders a chance to reflect on situations in which they were managers and in which they were leaders. What is the difference?

In 1989, Warren Bennis, author of On Becoming a Leader, said: “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right things.” When executives are managing, they are implementing. When they are leading, they are initiating.

Executives must have a blended balance of time spent both leading and managing in order to be successful. The qualities that differentiate the top managers from the top leaders are separate and must be seen as such. The similarities must be recognized, however, as well as the differences.

Similar characteristics between top managers and leaders include empathy, assertive behavior, and persistence. These folks are adept to new ideas, interested in analyzing situations, problem solvers, and create new solutions. They are quick workers and easily multi-task. The characteristic differences are also crucial. Leaders are less interested in following the status quo in comparison to managers. Leaders are also less concerned with being liked and more into motivating their team instead of pleasing them. This ‘indifference’ allows leaders to make difficult decisions and utilize clear communication in a more effective context than managers.

When executives realize that they are using different core personality traits when managing versus leading, they will be able to lead or manage in a more flexible, versatile, and effective style.

The more executives know about themselves in each of these situations, the more readily they can connect with their inner strengths. The more they connect with their inner strengths, the easier it is for them to connect with the strengths of others.

To be most effective, leaders must ask themselves: Do I know the difference between when I am leading and when I am managing? Different personal qualities shine through when executives are leading and when they are managing. Knowing the difference between the two allows them to shift gears in order to be efficient. And there are also situations where the two character sets will swirl together.

Ultimately, the best executives engage everyone around them to accomplish the goals of the organization. This engagement creates retention and employee loyalty. When employees are directly linked to the decisions and outcomes for an organization, they can see that they have an effect on the organization.

Managing and leading are part of a continuum. If an organization doesn’t recognize the challenge executives face while straddling these two parts of themselves, and provide ways for them to meet that challenge, they could suffocate potential leaders.

Leading and managing are integral factors in any organization. An executive that can efficiently do both tasks should be considered as top-talent regardless of current position. These individuals need to be recognized as potential ladder-climbers. To read more about how to utilize the personal characteristic shifts between leading and managing, click here to read the full article.

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