How did you answer the question in the title? I think organizations need both managers and leaders. We need managers to run the business, improve processes, hit quality goals, and make decisions. We need leaders to inspire us, to look around the corner and see where we are headed, to develop others and to transform the organization. It is important to understand the distinction between managers and leaders so you can improve your skills in the areas where you may not be as strong. Let’s start with some quick definitions from dictionary.com:
Manager – a person who has control or direction of an institution or business or of a part, division, or phase of it.
Leader – a guiding or directing head, as of an army, movement, or political group.
The website businessballs.com goes on to distinguish the two further by saying:
- Management is mostly about processes.
- Leadership is mostly about behavior.
Or, as they further explain:
- Management relies heavily on tangible, measurable capabilities such as effective planning; the use of organizational systems; and the use of appropriate communications methods.
- Leadership involves many management skills, but generally as a secondary or background function of true leadership. Leadership instead relies most strongly on less tangible and less measurable things like trust, inspiration, attitude, decision-making, and personal character. These are not processes or skills or even necessarily the result of experience. They are facets of humanity, and are enabled mainly by the leader’s character and especially his/her emotional reserves.
What do you need to work on the most? Most of my coaching clients have good management skills but have never really been trained in leadership skills. I believe being a strong leader starts with caring about the people that you work with which is why I love the following John Maxwell quote: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
My questions for you to ponder:
What are you doing to grow your skills?
Do you need to focus on management or leadership skills?
Do your people know you care?
How do you show it?