There is a difference between managing and leading. Leadership requires looking forward and imagining the possibilities of what the future can bring to determine the direction. Management requires monitoring and adjusting today’s work by looking back on a regular basis to ensure that its current goals are met. The best leaders lead and let their management teams get the job done.
Before we deal with the difference between managing and leading, we need to define each term.
Management requires that you hold the career potential of people in your hands, and of course, part of that potential lies in the mind of the employee. They have the opportunity to assign tasks, to distribute responsibilities, to hold them accountable, to give them resources to succeed, to build them or to destroy them. They have the ability to make their lives great or unhappy.
Leadership is the ability to get the most out of your employees and make them stronger. Leadership is about making people feel safe, providing a supportive work environment, and giving them access to the right tools and resources to succeed.
Listed below are the differences between managing and leading
Leading inspires change while managing involves transformation.
- When you lead, you determine the direction in which people will follow you. The monitoring process often requires major changes. This is where strong management comes into play, the work of the manager is to make the necessary changes and to achieve the organizational transformation defined by management.
Leading requires imagination, while managing requires specifics.
- A great leader can cultivate his imagination to inform his vision. It helps them see what can be. Managers need to understand this vision and get their teams to do the specific work needed to achieve what they have achieved.
Leading requires abstract thinking, while managing requires concrete data.
- By definition, abstract thinking allows a person to make connections and see patterns in seemingly unrelated information. The ability to think abstractly is very useful when trying to understand what an organization can become. Conversely, a manager must be able to process and analyze specific data to ensure optimal results.
Leading requires an ability to articulate, while managing requires a capacity for interpretation.
- A good leader can describe his vision in detail to motivate and inspire his organization to persecute it. A good manager must interpret that stated vision and rewrite it so that his teams can understand and accept it.
Leading requires an aptitude to sell while managing requires an aptitude to teach.
- A leader must sell his vision to his organization and its stakeholders. You need to convince all parties that what is being considered is feasible and worth more than what the company creates today. A manager must be able to teach his team what needs to be learned and adapted to achieve the set vision.
Leading requires an understanding of the external environment while managing requires understanding how the work is done within the organization.
- A leader needs to understand the business environment in which the company operates to better anticipate opportunities and avoid mishaps, while a manager expects them to understand how to do things with the resources available to the business.
Leading requires risk-taking while managing requires self-discipline.
- A leader will take risks when defining a strategic direction for a company. Managers need to be self-disciplined in order to stick to the plan to achieve this strategic direction, to ensure that the strategy is implemented as planned.
Leading requires confidence in uncertainty while managing requires a blind commitment to perform the task.
- The life of a leader is full of uncertainty. They prepare a course for their company in unexplored waters. Once the course is established, the managers have a duty to follow the direction indicated and commit to delivering the expected results.
When you lead, you are responsible for the entire organization, while managing is accountable to the team.
- Managers need to consider the impact of their decisions on the entire organization. A misstep can bring an entire company to its knees. It is a big responsibility. As a result, managers are responsible for their teams. They need to make sure that their teams are ready to deliver, and that each member is able to do what is necessary to be successful. There are important differences between managing and leading. The best leaders understand their vision and work with their teams to achieve that. Your business needs people with both types of skills and abilities to ensure lasting success. Take the time to understand these differences to build an organization that makes the most of everyone.