Management vs Leadership in the Workplace

How to put Management and Leadership in practice as an HR Manager

These days, management has almost gotten a bad reputation and leadership is all organisations are after. Management has come to be seen as over-controlling, while leadership is looked up to, as a way for leaders to pioneer and guide a team. We know that management and leadership are not the same things, but what are the differences, and how do you practice the best of both in your company?

No matter how good you are as a leader or a manager, you can always improve with the help of feedback.

Management vs Leadership in the Workplace
What is leadership?

Leadership1 is the act of guiding your company or team to a specific goal. A great leader can help ordinary people produce extraordinary results. A great leader is people oriented, understands the vision of the company, and is able to communicate effectively. They inspire their team to do their best every day, and use their skills to engage and encourage their teammates on a daily basis. Leadership is an extraordinary skill, and it takes a talented person to be able to take a group of people, and help them perform at their best.

"The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them."

A great leader is people oriented, understands the vision of the company, and is able to communicate effectively.

Management vs Leadership in the Workplace
Management vs Leadership in the Workplace
Management vs Leadership in the Workplace
What is management?

Management2 is the act of having control over a particular task or team. You can manage something even if there are no other people involved, such as being the manager of the server room, or managing the stock for a restaurant.

In order to be successful at management, you need to be task driven, have good communication skills, and you need a great sense of project management. In order to be a good manager, you need to stay focused on a goal, and to be able to understand how to move towards that goal as efficiently as possible.

"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it."

How to get the best of both worlds

Imagine the best race car ever created. The entrepreneur is the person who built this one of a kind innovative race car, the leader would be the one to decide where to go with this car, and the manager would be the one to drive it there.

In order for a business to be successful, you need a certain amount of leadership and management. Some of the skills you need for management and leadership overlap, while others are different. This is why there is often confusion about where leadership ends and management begins.

Although these two tasks are different, a good manager can also be a good leader, and the other way around. Here are a few tips for you as a workplace professional, whether in HR, FM or CRE for getting the best of both worlds.3

  • Value feedback
    No matter how good you are as a leader or a manager, you can always improve with the help of feedback. It’s very hard to be objective about your own work, and feedback from your team can both make them feel more heard, and improve your future work.
  • Set achievable goals
    Whether you are a manager or a leader, if you set the bar too high, you won’t be able to reach it. Not being able to reach a goal is demoralising, and it may even stop your team from trying for easier goals. It’s okay to aim high, but make sure that it is also achievable. That is not to say, reduce or limit your goals. Not at all! Consider for example breaking up a large goal into smaller achievable milestones.
  • Manage things and lead people4
    Perhaps the best way to get the best of both worlds is to understand and act on the difference between the two jobs. Management should be about tasks and things, leadership is about relationships and people. When you truly understand the difference, you will be able to handle both effectively.

Management and leadership are different set of skills with different characteristics. It is however quite common that one person needs to perform both. In order to engage the employees in your company, and support them to achieve company goals and succeed for themselves, their team and the company, define your two roles of manager and leader as separate jobs for yourself, and practice both fully.

Want to know how to align and engage your entire workforce? Download here the workbook The Power of Interactions and make sure you set yourself up for success by aligning your teams, all employees and your workplace towards creating the outstanding employee experience you need to take your organisation to the next level of success. 

Your guide to aligning and engaging your entire workforce around any transformation.


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