Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 20, 2018

Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?

Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?

Being an excellent manager doesn’t make someone a strong leader. We’ve all run into someone who uses the titles interchangeably, and it can be frustrating.

Knowing the difference leadership vs management helps you understand your role in your organization. By recognizing the difference, you can sharpen your abilities so that you can reach your fullest potential. Knowing what separates managers and leaders can also help you figure out how to achieve the best balance of leadership and management qualities.

In this article, I will explore the similarities and differences between leaders and managers, and help you figure out how to get the best of both worlds.

What are leadership and management?

What is leadership?

A leader’s power comes from their ability to get buy-in from others. They use their influence to challenge norms and guide innovation. As Drucker implies, leaders sometimes bend the rules to spur change. Peter Drucker aptly puts it:[1]

“The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. To gain followers requires influence but doesn’t exclude the lack of integrity in achieving this.”

What is management?

Managers ensure that employees conform to standards and adhere to policies. They make sure that the goals of their leaders are carried out. They are capable and responsible, but their contribution to organizations is strictly by-the book.[2]

Managers are the people to whom this management task is assigned, and it is generally thought that they achieve the desired goals through the key functions of planning and budgeting, organizing and staffing, problem solving and controlling.

Leadership vs Management

Leadership and management have different characteristics and have different focuses. Here are 9 main differences between leadership and management illustrated with examples:

Advertising

    1. Focus on goals and vision vs. Focus on tasks

    Leaders are oriented toward their company’s vision and goals. They look at the big picture and come up with new ways to actualize their vision.[3] When leaders try new things, they always tie their ideas back to the company’s mission.

    Managers are task-masters. While they may care about an organization’s vision, their job is to stick to policy. Managers carry out the big ideas for their organization’s leaders.

    2. Sell it vs. Tell it

    Since leaders are always on the cusp of innovation, they have to convince others that their ideas are worthwhile. Remember, they gain their authority by encouraging others to buy into their line of thinking.

    On the other hand, managers don’t have to sell an idea because their role is to enforce policies. If someone steps out of line, they can fall back on procedures. Employees do as their managers tell them.

    3. Take risks vs. Minimize risks

    Anytime you try something new, you must take a risk. Leaders take risks by default because they often push for change.

    Managers are put in place to keep risks to a minimum. They make sure that workers are doing what they’re supposed to do in the manner the company tells them to. When problems arise, a manager may take the problem to leadership to amend policies.

    4. Encourage vs. Instruct

    The lines between management and leadership blur here depending on how the manager approaches their duties. Ultimately, leaders offer encouragement to employees to think outside the box and see the big picture.

    Advertising

    Managers usually have clear guidelines about different aspects of their workplace. They may provide encouragement, but their main job is to tell you how things are supposed to be done. They’re the person you turn to when you want to figure out the best way to do your job.

    5. Go against the grain vs. Go with the flow

    Leaders need to challenge the status quo or else their organization risks stagnation.[4] They try new things to see if they can be more effective. They work to align company policies with the company’s vision.

    Managers, on the other hand, maintain the status quo. They’re doing their best work when they are enforcing the guidelines set out by the leaders.

    6. Motivate vs. Approve

    When you try new things, your risk of failing increases. Leaders must be motivated, and they’re great at keeping others motivated. They tie everything they do back to the company’s vision. When a company has a strong vision, a leader can use it as a rallying point for inspiring employees.

    When you’re managing people, your main objective is to decide if something passes muster. Managers look at their subordinates’ actions and determine whether they meet the standards set out by the company.

    7. Break the rules vs. Follow the rules

    Leaders have to play fast and loose with the rules to get ahead. Rules are often too rigid to allow for innovation, which means that leaders frequently bend them. When a company or organization is badly broken, leaders may disregard the rules entirely.

    If a manager wants to keep their job, they stick to the strategies set out by superiors. Bending and breaking the rules undermines their position, which can weaken the company.

    8. Inspire trust vs. Expect control

    When someone is guiding you through uncharted territory, you must have a certain level of trust in them. A strong leader is excellent at inspiring trust to take people to places they’ve never been.

    Advertising

    Managers’ authority rests in their ability to have control outright. You don’t have to like or trust your manager to do what you’re told. Managers expect and need control to do their job well.

    9. Foster ideas vs. Assign tasks

    Leaders thrive on making improvements by trying new things. They foster new ideas and free thinking because this supports their aims. They know that if they can encourage more people to think outside the box, the collective brainpower of the group will drive more innovation.

    Managers can’t encourage free thinking because they wouldn’t be able to fulfill company expectations. Telling people what to do is the only way they can ensure that employees will do what they’re supposed to in the way they’re supposed to do it.

    Is leadership better than management (or vice versa)?

    As you may have noted, there are some stark differences between leaders and managers, but leadership and management are complementary. This video will explain to you why leadership and management go hand-in-hand:

    Leaders are risk-taking, innovating, game-changers. Managers are by-the-book maintainers of the status quo. That doesn’t mean that it’s better to be one or the other.

    Companies need managers and leaders to run smoothly. A lack of management puts organizations at risk for falling out of compliance and not meeting goals. A lack of leadership leads to a stagnant and uninspired workforce.

    Leaders and managers may exist at opposite ends of a spectrum when it comes to authority, but they’re on the same team. A leader can have a grand vision, but without managers to carry it out, the vision won’t be realized. Managers have to adhere to standards, but if they aren’t inspired by leadership, they won’t be able to share their vision with the workforce.

    Strike the balance between leadership and management

    There’s a happy medium between leadership and management. In some cases, you do need someone to perform as strictly one or the other. The best authority figures know when to apply leadership and management to greater and lesser degrees.

    Advertising

    When to use leadership skills

    The degree to which you’re able to use leadership skills depends on your workforce and your company’s way of operating. If your members are clear about the team’s vision and goals, they’re more likely to be inspired by a leader.

    For an authority figure to lean more toward leadership, they need to be able to trust that workers are already fully aware of and compliant with company policies. If you constantly have to babysit your team members to perform basic tasks, it’s going to be difficult to encourage free thinking.

    When a team is made up of dedicated individuals who understand their roles, you have more leeway. They’ll be able to handle innovation and creativity while keeping up with their responsibilities. When a leader can enter into a dialogue with workers about company policies, they can come up with new ideas together.

    When to take on the role of a manager

    When you’re new on the job, you need somebody to tell you how things should be done. Managers are an absolute necessity when your team members are new. They can help workers figure out how to do their jobs in the most efficient way possible.

    Managers are also excellent at figuring out how much employees are capable of. They know that giving them too many responsibilities can have a negative impact on their performance and morale. They safeguard employee productivity by understanding how each person works and responds to stress.

    Organizations always need managers to help employees with uncertainties that they may have about their work. The manager is the person who can show you where to find a procedure in the handbook. They take the mystery out of the work so that employees can meet company expectations.

    Organizations need managers and leaders to reach their full potential. You can’t have one without the other. Running a company made only of leaders would be like herding cats. Having managers run the show means that you’ll get a lot done, but you’ll never get better.

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Tips From The Most Successful People 50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn Feel better instead of feeling tired Feeling Tired All the Time? Find out Why and How to Get Energetic Again The Only Way to Remember Everything You Have Read 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

    Trending in Smartcut

    119 Ways to Use Creative Thinking in the Workplace to Up Your Credibility 2Is There a Secret to Success? 22 Ways Productive People Reach the Top 3How to Ace an Interview: 17 Things That Hiring Managers Look For 4How to Set Ambitious and Achievable Career Goals (With Examples) 5Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Published on July 10, 2018

    19 Ways to Use Creative Thinking in the Workplace to Up Your Credibility

    19 Ways to Use Creative Thinking in the Workplace to Up Your Credibility

    Our world is changing at faster pace than ever. In order to keep up, we are continually adapting to new technology and the changing industries.

    Employers are looking for employees who can solve problems, think creatively and be a leader in every situation.

    These 19 tips will help you find ways to develop creative thinking and to use it to gain credibility as a leader in the workplace:

    1. Set limitations

    In order to increase your own creative thinking, it helps to set limits for yourself, so you have to think outside the box to come up with solutions.

    Set deadlines, budgets or any other type of limitation to increase your creative problem solving. This will build your credibility as a creative problem solver as you come up with innovative solutions.

    2. Change things up

    If you find yourself falling into a rut and doing the same thing every single day, then you will likely struggle to come up with new ideas. This is why it is important to change things up in your routine and break out of your rut.

    Get your creative juices flowing by exercising at a different time, or trying something new for lunch. Move your desk to a different position or change your personal workspace.

    Any of these changes will help spark your mind and get the new ideas pumping again.

    3. Listen and care about others

    When you show that you care about others and listen to their ideas and thoughts, they will trust you more.

    “Leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and breed loyalty. You know the leaders who have their employees’ best interests at heart because they truly listen to them.” — Glenn Llopis

    Listening to your coworkers allows them to be more open with you and feel that they can take risks and be creative.

    Discussing ideas with your coworkers will not only increase your own creative thinking, but also set the environment for a more creative office.

    4. Find good mentors/critics

    If you want your creative work to improve, then you need to find a good mentor or critic who can give you positive feedback and help you to keep moving forward.

    As your work improves over time because of your dedication and your mentor, people will hold you in greater respect.

    Advertising

    Every type of creative work takes several drafts before it is ready to go. With your mentors, you can find ways to continually improve your work. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar said:[1]

    “Early on, all of our movies suck. That’s a blunt assessment, I know, but I… choose that phrasing because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions of our films really are. I’m not trying to be modest or self-effacing by saying this. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them go… from suck to non-suck. We are true believers in the iterative process – reworking, reworking and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its throughline or a hollow character finds its soul.”

    Use your mentor’s knowledge to bring your first drafts to life.

    5. Try and fail, a lot

    The best way to get better at things is to keep trying and failing until you improve. This increases your creative thinking and shows your coworkers that you don’t give up easily and are willing to improve.

    The ability to take failure and turn it around is one of the best qualities of any leader.

    The Harvard Business Review reported:[2]

    “Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy has shown through her research about how expert entrepreneurs make decisions, they must make lots of mistakes to discover new approaches, opportunities, or business models. She frequently references Howard Schultz who, when he started Il Giornale in Seattle, the company that Schultz used to later buy the original Starbucks brand and assets, the store had nonstop opera music playing, menus written in Italian, and no chairs. As Schultz has often said, “We had to make a lot of mistakes” before discovering a model that worked.”

    6. Be consistent (no tortured artists here)

    When you think of creativity, an image of a broken-hearted artist or alcoholic writer may come to mind. Many people today associate creativity with isolation, despair, alcohol and inconsistency.

    Just picture Jay Gatsby.

    While that is good for drama, that’s not really how creativity works. Creativity is fostered through consistent effort. Put in the work everyday and you will find your creative muscles and credibility will grow.

    As a leader in your workplace, you need to show consistency in everything you do, not just your own work, but throughout the company to build your business’s credibility.

    7. Be honest to yourself and others

    Acting dishonestly is one of the fastest ways for you to lose your credibility. Always be honest to the people around you and to yourself.

    If your coworkers feel that they can trust you, then they rely on you more and work with you better. Honesty is what builds a solid foundation for a successful workplace.[3]

    During the creative process, it is important to be honest to yourself. It’s easy to get carried away with fantastic ideas but you will need to learn to be honest with yourself about what is and is not possible.

    Advertising

    8. Collaborate

    The best work usually comes from teamwork. Katherine W. Phillips said,[4]

    “The fact is that if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity. Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.”

    Show your coworkers that you value their efforts and perspective. By working together, you can create new ideas and make something better than you ever have before.

    Collaborating will not only improve your own creative thinking but will create a bond between you and your team.

    9. Use humor

    As a leader, you want your coworkers to feel comfortable to be creative and open-minded.

    Humor has been proven to help people to relax and feel more willing to try something new and helps foster creativity.[5]

    To improve your own credibility and help others gain confidence in their own creative thinking, use an appropriate sense of humor to lighten the mood when needed and to get those creative juices flowing.

    10. Be vulnerable

    This goes along with being honest with yourself and others. To be a creative thinker, then you have to be willing to fail, admit your failures and be open to receiving critique.

    This can be difficult especially in a workplace where you want to show your strengths instead of weaknesses, but by admitting yo ur weaknesses and being open to others, your credibility will grow as your coworkers know that you listen and are adaptable.

    Take a look at this article to find out Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength.

    11. Have meaningful conversations

    The best way to gain a new perspective is by talking to other people. You have had a certain amount of experiences that have shaped the way that you see the world.

    Everyone around you has had different sets of experiences that have shaped their perspectives. By engaging with these people, you can learn more about their views. Try to walk in their shoes and understand their perspectives, especially if you disagree.

    Steer clear of shallow small talk and discuss bigger and more meaningful topics with those around you. Ask about their experiences, their hopes, their opinions and you will gain new perspectives that will assist your creative thinking.

    12. Be constantly learning new things

    Some of the greatest minds in the world (Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerburg) have said they dedicate at least five hours every week to learning new things.

    Advertising

    They are passionate about growing their minds and learn about everything from nuclear physics to politics. As they learn about different topics, they look for ways to apply what they have learned to their own industry.

    Start your own educational journey today by finding some books you would like to read or finding high-quality articles online about each topic.

    Keep in mind your own industry and how you can apply what you learn to your job. You never know all the different ways astronomy can help your marketing efforts.

    13. Experience it all

    Steve Jobs once said that creativity comes from experience.[6] The more experiences you have, the better connections you will be able to make to find solutions.

    Try to experience as many things as possible. You don’t have to go on some huge trip around the world to have more experience; simply meeting new people and trying new things will give you more experience that will build your creative skills.

    14. Give yourself some love

    When I was younger, I was given the advice to take the time everyday before I went out for the day to ensure I felt good about myself and fully confident. Sometimes this took the shape of wearing a new pair of shoes or writing in my journal that morning.

    I was told if I could take the time to prepare myself for the day, then I could focus all of my energy on the people around me. This is something that great leaders do today.

    Take the time to rest and prepare for the next day, so you can throw yourself into your creative work and help those around you.

    Self-care can be whatever it is that you need: a hot bath, going to the gym, walking your dog, reading, the list goes on and on. Figure out what energizes you, and do it as often as needed.

    15. Take ownership

    Accountability fosters your creative thinking because you know that others will see your work and know whether you did it well or not.

    Creativity works best under some pressure, so take your projects seriously by taking responsibility for them.

    Your coworkers will have greater respect for you as you take ownership for your work projects, even if you are disappointed in the results.

    16. Be reflective

    Hindsight is 20-20, so by looking back at past successes and failures, you can get new ideas for your work.

    Reflecting is a part of the creative process and will help you as you continue to create and work. Learning from the past sets an example for your coworkers and will improve your credibility among your colleagues.[7]

    Advertising

    “Creativity requires us to be confident in our areas of practice, whatever they may be. And reflection is an indispensable part of observing, developing, digesting and being in dialogue with our creative ’self’.”

    17. Communicate

    Communication is key to any good relationship and this includes the relationships between you and your coworkers.

    Notice how your coworkers handle critique and find the best way to give them constructive criticism. Notice how your coworkers handle conflict, and find a positive way to help each of them through it.[8]

    “Effective communication is one of the key prerequisites for a thriving workplace. It drives fast, clear and precise flow of information between individuals and groups. A lack of proper communication can greatly decrease productivity.”

    Communication is a skill that is vastly underestimated and incredibly useful in the workplace. As you develop this skill, you can become an impressive creative leader.

    18. Meet deadlines

    We have all experienced those coworkers who can’t meet a deadline with their projects. It can be frustrating and throw off everyone else’s work.

    To be a credible leader, don’t be that person.

    I’ve already mentioned that creativity works best with a little bit of pressure. Use your creative thinking to finish your projects on time, so you can meet your deadlines.

    Your coworkers will know that they can count on you to get the job done on time, which will likely lead to you getting more projects.

    19. Respect others

    No matter how brilliant you are, if you don’t show respect for the people around you, your credibility in your workplace will suffer.

    The opposite is true as well, if you show respect to each of your coworkers, your credibility as a leader will grow.

    Michigan Ross Professor Jane Dutton who has conducted research on the impact that mutual respect has on creativity said:[9]

    “Across our studies, we demonstrate that respectful engagement is more than simply a nice way to interact, but is a catalyst and cultivator of creativity.”

    By creating a friendly workplace, not only your creative thinking will improve but also everyone around you. With a work environment of mutual respect, ideas can develop into something incredible.

    Creative thinking and leadership abilities are some of the top skills that employers are looking for. Start applying these 19 tips to your work, and you will see great results in your own work and with your coworkers’ work.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    Read Next