Mistaking Leadership with Management!

This post is about – identifying the difference between leadership and management. A lot of people believe the two are the same and believe that, because they have been effective or excellent managers, that they’re capable of leading too. IT IS A WRONG ASSUMPTION! While the two ideally come together, the qualities and attributes of a leader and a manager are not exactly the same.

Management is more operationally focused. It’s more of a supervisory role of setting priorities, allocating resources, and directing the execution. Leadership is more forward thinking, more about enabling the organization, empowering individuals, developing the right people, thinking strategically about opportunities, and driving alignment. Mind you, the line is not black and white. But it’s a classic mistake if one assumes that because he is a good manager he will necessarily be a good leader.

The first thing to realize is how many different styles of leadership can be successful. Situational leadership is the most commonly applied style.There isn’t one particular style of leadership that is innately more successful than others. There are certain skills sets, which are learn-able and that are very important. You need to be able to communicate. If you can’t communicate well, you won’t be able to inspire, motivate and attract the resources necessary for success.

Prioritization is a really important skill. You’ve got to know what’s more important than the other thing. It’s amazing how many really smart people cannot prioritize. Only a minority of people can effectively prioritize and that ‘Prioritizing’ ability adds ‘focus’ to the task taken up and develops effective time management.

And you need to have effective interpersonal skills. That doesn’t mean you need to be ‘always’ social and it doesn’t mean you need to be outgoing all the time. But it means that when you sit down in your office with somebody who’s relying on you for leadership, you’ve got to be able to emphatically communicate with them. Go around their challenges, figure out how to help them to be more successful and resolve their conflicts so they can do their job better than they thought they could. Ideally, leading by example helps me a lot in manoeuvring around tough situations.

There are very few leaders ( and most of them have innate ability to lead effectively..) but there are ‘many’ managers because they are trained to be so. Let us say, the Effective Leader is a retriever – who has to go out and assemble the resources. He has to go out and find the people for his company, the money and the partners. This person is really a ‘great sales person’ – he has to sell the vision of the company every day – to each prospective employee whom he wants to join, to each ideal supplier, to each one whose support he needs to meet his goals. He is asking people to believe in something that doesn’t exist and take a substantial leap of faith. ‘All is possible’ because he can generate that ‘faith’ of others in his proposal, methods, speech, sincerity, mission etc… He is a natural orator and can translate his thoughts into action….. can quantify efforts into results! He is a believer and a Doer!!


2 thoughts on “Mistaking Leadership with Management!

  1. Commitment is resulting drive to accomplish specific goal to achieve goals knowledge and skill is applied in organizational duty and have to take new responsibility to support changes. The key quality of a motivational leader is to observe people and their activities and judge them and recognize their values and respect their humor.

    • Yes. Commitment forms the basis or the reason to act in the first place! Leadership is all about commitment .. everything else will follow its due course or things will fall into right places. Motivational leader has to guide, teach and mold his followers.

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