Understanding Leadership vs Management

In Business, Culture, Leadership, Mentoring by Stephen Rogers

In my last blog, I asked the significant question “Are you an Influencer” and gave some pointers to determine whether you were or weren’t.  As an Executive Coach, I get to spend my day with business owners, C-suite and other senior Managers who run all or parts of large organisations.  It still amazes me how some organisations still promote individuals based on their length of tenure or “the next in-line” approach rather than the individual’s appropriate skills and capabilities for the position.  These organisations then wonder why the department or section of the business is not improving or functioning well.  These same businesses then fail to train or upskill the promoted individual in their new responsibilities and role.  These companies focus on Management, not Leadership.

As I discussed in previous ponderings, leaders can have a positive or negative influence.  When I talk about Leadership, I am focussing purely on those positive influential leaders who contribute and grow those around them.

Leadership has certain traits and characteristics that in no matter what circumstance or situation are obvious and shine through.  If businesses have leaders at the top, then those businesses typically will have leaders throughout the organisational structure, because leaders propagate leaders.  Leadership can be cultivated and even learned, but individuals have to be allowed to lead.  To transform an individual into being a leader requires time, a clear plan, mentoring and guidance, and permission.  Permission not just from those above, but also from those who are going to be led.  If those “following” don’t trust and respect the leader, they won’t be leading, and that typically returns to the management of people, trying to enforce their will or requirements.

Leadership in a business is defined by the culture that permeates every part, and culture can be different between departments if those in charge are not aligned in the organisation’s values.  To have effective leadership in a business, the culture has to be consistent, allowing for trust and rapport to be established.  Leadership allows for creativity and flexibility, providing a boundary, and allowing the individual to be individual.  Business Management on the other hand is controlling, the managers way or no way, and relies on conformance.  Businesses with “managers” tend to stay at a certain size and don’t lend themselves to innovation whereas those with leaders grow and push boundaries because individuals are encouraged.

More on Leadership next month.