Leadership vs Management

Management and Leadership are two very important roles; however, they do require different skill sets. A manager’s primary goal is to ensure that the tasks, they are overseeing, run smoothly. Leaders, on the other hand, must be able to predict change and ensure that they and their team are ready to meet these changes. A manager should be more detail oriented and focused on the here and now, while a leader needs to be both detail and big picture oriented, but also focused on the future.

Management vs Leadership

Management vs Leadership

Today, I want to take just a few minutes to talk about the difference between management and leadership. These really are two different things. There may be some overlap, but by and large they are two different things. They both involve knowledge and skills. Basically, if you’re going to train a manager, you’re going to be different doing different things than training a leader.

As we talk about the difference between what a manager does versus what a leader does, you can see that they both will need somewhat different skill sets. The knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be a good manager involve understanding the area over which you’ve placed them as a manager. This is what this area is supposed to do. Let’s just invent something fictitious.

Let’s say that you’ve assigned someone the job to manage the part of a business that manufactures widgets. What’s a widget? It’s an imaginary thing. This sector manufactures widgets. You want that manager then to understand the widget manufacturing process very well. All the different steps necessary to produce a quality widget.

A good manager then will have the knowledge, skills, and abilities that permit them to oversee the production of widgets and produce lots of widgets, produce them in a cost-effective way, in a timely way with a high amount of quality. They need to understand the process by which widgets are made, understand each sector that it helps produce them, what each person’s job is, to help maximize output.

All they’re doing is governing a process. Management is functional, task-oriented, and process-oriented. The manager’s job is to make sure that whatever it is that they’ve been assigned to do keeps flowing smoothly and functioning optimally. That’s all they’re supposed to do. I understand the process. I understand who does the process. I’m going to smooth out the process and keep things flowing so we can keep production up.

I’m not supposed to think about the future, about things changing, about guiding anyone. All I’m doing is overseeing the process to make sure that the process is run optimally and smoothly and producing what I’ve been told we’re producing (quality widgets) at a high rate of quality, low cost, no glitches, this sort of thing. A manager oversees a process. They need to understand the process.

A leader, on the other hand, is not so much drawn into the mechanics, the process, the task, the function. A leader’s job is to predict change. They look not only at the business and that one little sector of the business (widget-making), they look across the landscape and say “This is what our company does. This is where we’re positioned. I’ve noticed these changes out here in the sector, in the business sector, in the world, and this is going to impact our business in significant ways. It’s going to raise the cost, perhaps, of raw materials, labor costs whatever.”

They see the changes coming, they’re able to identify the changes that are coming, and then they spend time forward thinking. How can we best meet those changes? What’s going to have to change within the structure of the company in order to meet those challenges that we see coming down the pike? The leader’s job is to foresee, or predict, changes coming, and then come up with a best way to meet those changes.

Then, it’s the leader’s job to guide those under their care into making those necessary changes to meet the challenge that’s coming. Leadership can help guide management into making changes to what they oversee in order to meet the challenges that are coming. There’s perhaps some overlap, but there really are quite a few differences.

The manager understands the process, understands the task, has an intimate in-depth knowledge of what they’re supposed to be overseeing and, therefore, by managing it and overseeing it they produce an efficient system that produces that product. A leader is not bound in the mechanics of the process but is looking at the larger landscape, noticing the changes that may be coming down, the challenges approaching, starts thinking of best ways to meet those challenges, and then guides everyone else into making the necessary changes in the business to meet those challenges.

This is just a basic overview of the difference between management and leadership. When you are training management, you want them to understand the details, the nitty-gritty. When you’re training leadership, it’s more of the broad spectrum thinking, looking out on the landscape and saying, “What’s coming and how can we meet those challenges?”

Provided by: Mometrix Test Preparation

Last updated: 10/25/2018


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