Differences Between Leadership and Management

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The difference between leadership and management can be summed up by saying that leaders get people to follow them, while managers direct people to work for them. Using a variety of motivational techniques, leaders inspire subordinates. Using processes, procedures, rules and regulations, managers can effectively coordinate the activities of their staffs.

Who Is a Leader?

  • Leaders can be executives, management-level department heads, team or project members or even low-level employees who motivate others to act. A leader’s role is not always defined by the completion of a task, such as creating 1,000 units of a product per hour or auditing a budget to find mistakes. The task of a leader might be to get employees to find ways to increase production beyond 1,000 units per hour or to make the units at a lower expense. Leaders often task their subordinates with innovating. For example, instead of simply determining why a sales department missed its goals for the month, a leader will ask her staff why they missed their targets and what they can do to improve. A leader is much more an innovator than a manager, according to The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management.”

Managers Work Within a Framework

  • Managers are more objective than leaders, giving specific directions, deadlines, tasks, procedures and exact methods of performing work. For example, a sales manager might set departmental goals, track their progress, update the team as to the results and deliver bonuses or penalties for performance. If the team misses its goals, a manager is more likely to assign blame and give new instructions. A leader in this situation would look for a team solution. Executive leaders often set the strategic goals for managers, who develop the tactical methods for achieving them. Managers often follow directions from their superiors, rather than using their own ideas to innovate. Managers are less likely to take risks than leaders, according to change-management consultant, David Straker, at his website, ChangingMinds.org.

Leading by Example

  • Leaders use people skills that seek to influence, rather than control, the people they work with. They often motivate by setting an example. They show up on time or early, meet their assigned goals, finish by deadline or early and follow company rules. They don’t gossip, harass or discriminate. Leaders might use the Socratic method of people management, asking questions rather than simply giving directions. Leaders make subordinates want to follow them, using rewards and recognition, rather than fear and punishment as motivators.

Enforcing the Rules and Policies

  • Managers direct their staffs using a variety of objective methods, such as setting numerical goals, providing training, holding team meetings, using project software and creating rules for workplace performance. Managers are often tasked with enforcing company policies and procedures that address such areas as attendance, dress code, submission of paperwork and annual reviews.

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