Leading vs. Managing, or Both?

There are leaders, and there are managers. They are two very different positions. While some people can do both at once, it is an important distinction that should be examined and understood by anyone in a leadership position.

Managers are responsible for the work getting done, while leaders are responsible for forging ahead and showing people how to get the work done. There is a need for both roles, but there can be tension and stress when managers and leaders do not agree—and employees often respond differently to different styles of management or leadership.

Managing Styles
When it comes to management, there are a variety of styles that can be found in the office. There is the manager who likes to run around and put out fires, a direct contrast to the manager who sits back and expects the team to take care of everything. Then there are managers who live to work and expect everyone else to do the same.

Trying to catalog different management styles is almost an impossible task, but there are some important distinctions to understand. Is trust given by the manager to the people on the team, or does the manager watch everything (or try to watch everything)? Is the manager knowledgeable about what is going on in the team or teams, or do they have a hands-off approach? Management style is more than just personality—it is the relationships that exist between the manager and the team members.

Leadership Styles
If management is a matter of using your relationships with the team to get the work done, then leadership is about using your relationship with the team to help them move to new areas. Those areas might be new skill sets or finishing a project of a type that has never been done. The style of leadership can also be as varied as management styles.

The important characteristic of all leaders though is that they understand how to communicate well and motivate people. Without these skills, a leader will only go as far as they can go alone. Whether your style is brash, diplomatic or stream of consciousness, without a team behind you, you will not be leading for long.


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