To manage or lead… that is the big question. This is a guest post by Alex Williams.
Even though leadership and management are complementary and inseparable skills, they cannot be used interchangeably. When you get promoted to a project manager, you don’t automatically become a leader. Every good leader must know how to manage both their teams and projects.
To Manage or Lead?
Here are some of the most significant differences between management and leadership.
1. Leaders Pull, Managers Push
Managing people is a task-oriented and highly rational process. It’s focused on events, processes, and calculations. Managers focus on current setting and control situations to achieve or exceed certain short-term goals.
What Do Managers Do?
Managers “allocate resources,” “estimate effort,” and “calculate durations” regularly. They assign tasks, provide necessary guidance, and monitor and assess their employees’ performance constantly. Most importantly, managers have authority over their employees and usually tell them what to do.
Employees report to managers and, in turn, get a salary for doing their job. This is what is meant when we say that managers resort to the “push” principle.
How do Leaders Lead?
On the other hand, leadership is people-oriented. What differentiates leaders from managers is their high levels of emotional intelligence. Namely, good leaders don’t necessarily focus on their employees’ skills and performance. Instead, they focus on their individual behavior, interests, and attitudes.
Apart from being authoritative, leaders also inspire. They contextualize ideas and encourage team members to look at the big picture. Leaders also motivate them to follow their vision and become a part of something bigger.
They put trust in their employees and believe that they are competent enough to make smart decisions on their own. As leaders motivate people, instead of pushing them, they use the so-called “pull” approach.
2. Leaders Innovate, Managers Use Proven Patterns
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower,” ~Steve Jobs once said.
Even if everything around them is working like clockwork, they always believe there is a better way forward. They never stop learning and acquiring new skills. Most importantly, they’re comfortable in their own shoes and not afraid to stand their ground. They make difficult decisions even if they know they’ll be criticized. [Read more…] about To Manage Or Lead: That Is The Big Question