The terms leadership and management are often used interchangeably, but each has its own set of skills. And both sets of skills are needed to effectively lead a team or organization.
So, what’s the difference between management and leadership?
Management skills are focused on organization, processes and achieving goals:
- Allocating resources
- Establishing policies and procedures
- Hiring and firing
- Performance management
- Problem solving
- “Doing things right”
Leadership skills are focused on creating a vision, developing talent, and inspiring action:
- Strategic thinking
- Clarifying the big picture
- Empowering others
- Building and growing teams
- Developing relationships
- Embracing change
- “Doing the right things”
Leaders need to be able to “dial up” management or leadership skills as appropriate for the situation. For example, we are currently in a challenging, uncertain environment, with many teams working remotely. Leaders may need to be more focused on management – planning, allocating resources, and establishing processes around the new ways of working. What are the priorities? What equipment do team members need so they can continue to work at home? How do we efficiently track progress and performance?
While the focus may be more on management at this time, it’s also important to pull on those leadership skills that will help teams continue to be motivated and engaged. This includes open and honest communication, connecting with individual employees to assess how they’re doing (not just what they’re doing), and providing opportunities for team members to connect with each other.
If you need additional ideas on how to lead during these challenging times, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The real challenge is to combine strong leadership and strong management and use each to balance each other.” – John Kotter