Is a good manager a good leader, or is there a difference between management and leadership?
The average organization has multiple departments, each headed by a manager. This is the person in charge of ensuring the system works like a well-oiled machine. A manager sets up a system that involves various job tasks which he/she allocates to members of the team.
The management job is therefore presumably, to make sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to do and that they have everything they require to do the job. The manager’s focus is on process and efficiency.
Leadership takes a different approach. A leader realizes that the easiest way to meet company goals and objectives is to focus on the people doing the job. Rather than set up rigid workflow systems, the leader concentrates on selling the company vision.
The employees automatically gear all their efforts towards the vision rather than short term goals. The leader’s primary goal is therefore to increase productivity.
Differences between Managers and Leaders
- Managers have subordinates while Leaders have followers-
In an IT department, there may be a systems administrator, a digital marketer, a web developer and a graphic designer all working under the IT Manager.
A manager’s style is authoritarian; ensuring each of these employees follows rules and procedures. He maintains control of the team by threatening disciplinary action or by carrot-and-stick rewards.
A leader on the other hand takes a charismatic approach, becoming part of the team and leading by example. His team is inspired to achieve targets because they feel valued.
- Managers focus on Objectives while Leaders focus on Vision
Focusing on individual objectives gives the manager a short-term goal orientation. For example the sales department’s objectives may be to sell Kshs. 1 million worth of services monthly, shared between five salespeople. The manager pushes each salesperson every month to meet this goal.
Leaders have a long-term view of the company goals, so in the same sales department, they may invest in sales training for the team so they can meet their targets more efficiently and consistently.
- Managers are Reactive while Leaders are Proactive
A lot of managers treat their department like a machine. Once they figure out a system that works well, they like to maintain status quo. Managers avoid risks at all costs and only react to changes in the system.
Leaders like to challenge the system. They are not afraid to tear it up and build it afresh if they believe it can get better. Leaders are risk takers who support innovation in their team.
How to Tell If Your Managers Are Good Leaders
You can tell if the people you have put in charge of your company’s teams are good leaders if:
- Productivity increases: A good leader has high emotional intelligence. This means she can appeal to the team’s emotions, spurring them to achieve more.
- Your employees stay: It is said that employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. If your turnover rates have fallen with no significant changes to the rewards, chances are you have a good leader on board.
- More leadership roles spring up: Leaders mentor leaders by giving them a chance to be on the frontline. They delegate work well so every member of the team can shine.
- Your Company Strategy Improves: Part of leadership involves problem solving which is valuable towards a department’s strategy. A good leader makes good decisions that you can track over time.
What do you do next after taking stock of your managers’ leadership skills? The perception that leaders are born is misleading. Leaders are created through mentorship and leadership development programs.
Whatever industry you are in, an effective leadership training course can impact your company’s bottom line by training your managers to become good leaders. This results in a win-win situation where the process and vision are both taken care of.