The Small Business CEO Blog linked to an article called, Leading vs. Managing — They’re Two Different Animals.
The article has some good points, but I also want to bring up a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Perhaps I am just a trouble maker, but I don´t agree with a few of the points this article is making.
The author paints a picture of managers and leaders as being fundamentally different people with different views. Here is a portion of the article:
"First of all, let’s take a look at the difference in personality styles between a manager and a leader.
Managers – emphasize rationality and control; are problem-solvers (focusing on goals, resources, organization structures, or people); often ask question, “What problems have to be solved, and what are the best ways to achieve results so that people will continue to contribute to this organization?”; are persistent, tough-minded, hard working, intelligent, analytical, tolerant and have goodwill toward others.
Leaders – are perceived as brilliant, but sometimes lonely; achieve control of themselves before they try to control others; can visualize a purpose and generate value in work; are imaginative, passionate, non-conforming risk-takers.
Managers and leaders have very different attitudes toward goals.
Managers – adopt impersonal, almost passive, attitudes toward goals; decide upon goals based on necessity instead of desire and are therefore deeply tied to their organization’s culture; tend to be reactive since they focus on current information.
Leaders – tend to be active since they envision and promote their ideas instead of reacting to current situations; shape ideas instead of responding to them; have a personal orientation toward goals; provide a vision that alters the way people think about what is desirable, possible, and necessary."
Here´s what does not ring true for me:
1. I don´t see managers and leaders as different people. We can all demonstrate management and leadership. We are leaders some of the time and we need to be managers some of the time. To do our jobs well and to be successful we must be great managers AND leaders. We might have natural tendencies toward management or leading, but we can learn and develop both capabilities. I know some people think leadership cannot be taught, but I have seen people learn leadership and I have helped professionals develop both management and leadership skills.
2. I think there is good management and poor management. Good leadership and poor leadership. This article seems to be saying that management is old school and leadership is hip and now. Management can be hip and leadership can be old school.
For example, they say "managers adopt impersonal, almost passive, attitudes toward goals."?? They also say managers tend to be more reactive than proactive. Poor managers do this, but great managers take great care and interest in goals and are very proactive. Showing interest and being proactive does not make one a leader.
What´s the difference between leadership and management?
To me, management refers to the responsibilities we have that are about taking care of business processes, planning, assignments, quality, productivity, and the alignment of the organization. Management is the practice of tending to regular and emerging business needs. Management is the craft of tending to the details of the business in an engaged, proactive and results oriented manner.
Leadership refers to the responsibilities we have that are about influencing, inspiring, and enlivening our employees, peers, and customers. We demonstrate leadership when we communicate in a compelling manner, encourage productive dialogue, and when we role model excellence.
There is a shortage of great management in many of today´s corporations. Perhaps the management vs. leadership mindset is one reason for this. Leadership is certainly the "sexier"?? of the two and I wonder if some have abandoned developing excellent management skills because they want to be a leader.
The best and most successful business people will practice effective and contemporary management and will provide the leadership that their organizations need.
Oh, and one more thing: Neither great leaders nor great managers try to control other people.
This article does not go into this, but I have heard others say that whether someone is a manager or leader is a function of how high they are up the corporate food-chain. While the needs of each position are different and the mix of management and leadership might differ, I reject the notion that as you move up you no longer need the ability to manage well.
The article has its strong points too, and does acknowledge some of the important skills that managers need. My concern is the overarching message which seems incomplete and not quite right.
I love finding articles like these, though, as they provide an opportunity for open dialogue and debate.
What´s your perspective?