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Management Vs. Leadership


I talk exclusively about management, which leads some people to wonder what the difference is between management and leadership. This is a topic that is too complex to fully discuss in a short blog post, but I'll try (and will probably return to this topic several times).


There is a great deal of overlap between these two topics. Many of the things that make a great manager are required to be a great leader. It also doesn't help that many people use the words interchangeably.


In my definition, management is about specific behaviors that relate to the day-to-day operations of a team. I say that management really has two responsibilities: get results (however the organization defines results) and build strong teams. This requires a manager to do the day-to-day things focused on those responsibilities. You have to know how to give feedback, how to lead effective meetings, how to build relationships, etc. The nuts and bolts of the organization.


Leadership is at a higher level in my world. This requires the things that are more intangible - vision, charisma, affability, etc. Results are not necessarily the key role, but plays a part. Leaders don't build great team, but usually great teams follow them.


Another key difference is that management responsibility is given by the company, leadership status is not. A company can promote an individual to a manager level and it is so. A company cannot simply declare someone a leader, that is decided by the followers.


Managers need some leadership qualities and can develop into a full fledged leader through work and development. Leaders may have some management qualities, but don't really need them to be successful.


I don't believe that anyone can be a manager or a leader. However, I also don't believe that you are born to be a manager or a leader. These are skills that can be learned and developed over time. People grow into those roles. Like any other skill, for some the development is easier than others.


Again, this was a simple description upon which I will expand more at a later date. However, I'm interested in your thoughts. Do you think managers and leaders are different? Why or why not?

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