Management and Leadership

Management and Leadership… Is There A Difference?

Showing the difference between a boss or manager and a leader
Image courtesy of Olivier Carré-Delisle, via Flickr

In the business world, from small businesses with just a few employees to large corporations with thousands of workers, the effectiveness of any company’s management and leadership is an important topic. After all, profitability and growth are always a measure of how well the people who make up your company perform. And the job performance of a large group of employees is driven primarily by how well they understand their roles and responsibilities, and how committed they are to doing a good job.

Often, in this discussion about leadership and management, the two words are used interchangeably. However, there are significant differences. There's a lot more to it than simply being in charge of a business operation. In fact, both functions are needed for an operation to be successful, and neither of them is more important than the other.

 

Management

 

Managers are responsible for getting things done on time. Typically, they are accountable for making sure the group of employees they manage are hitting goals, meeting deadlines, and staying within budget. The manager is vital to a company's success because he or she has a thorough understanding of the day-to-day operation and communicates to each employee individually what his or her expectations and responsibilities are. Managers also make important decisions on how resources, including employees, are scheduled and allocated.

 

Leadership

 

Leaders are responsible for the overall direction of the organization they lead. In some cases, that “organization” is a large corporation, but leadership is also important in small businesses, or even departments within a larger organization. A leader’s role, when it comes to employee productivity, is to inspire them to excel at their jobs. He or she thinks long-term strategy and doesn’t focus on day-to-day operations because that’s the manager’s job. Instead, a leader strives to think creatively and innovate toward strategic growth.

 

While in some cases, management and leadership can come from the same person, such as the owner of a small business, it’s rare because it involves two distinct ways of thinking. That said, both functions are vitally important.

 

Leadership without management often results in organizations that come up with plenty of good ideas, but aren’t successful because the quality is unacceptable or work isn’t getting done on time. And management without leadership often results in companies that either fail or barely scrape by because you end up with a collection of workers who, though they may be doing well at their jobs, they aren’t all pulling in the same direction… because they don’t know what that direction is.

 

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