The terms leadership and management are often used interchangeably in the workplace. Around the office, there can be a lot of confusion about the difference between being a leader and being a manager. Without a clear understanding of what these roles mean, the qualities they require and therefore the responsibilities they entail, businesses will struggle to move forward and achieve their objectives without clear definition. After all, how can you excel at your job if you’re not sure what your job actually is?
Management or being a manager is about giving instruction to perform tasks that ultimately keep a business or organisation functioning. Managers make things happen today and work towards short-term goals like hitting the quarter’s targets or ensuring standards of accuracy and quality; they are less concerned with the future and don’t tend to work towards long-term goals. The manager goes through a series of regular processes such as planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving.
On the other hand, leadership or being a leader is usually about change of some description. It’s not about giving instruction to perform regular tasks, rather, it’s about aligning people to the company or the department’s vision which requires buy-in from people, communication with a wide range of stakeholders as well as being able to motivate and inspire.
Of course, often the qualities attributed to a leader can also be applied to a manager; anyone can display leadership qualities without being in a leadership role. Maybe you’re a great motivator or perhaps you inspire your team yet formally your job has nothing to do with leadership. Also, leadership and management are often part of the same role; there may be an adjustment of the company’s direction which would involve leadership skills to bring about change, while also controlling resources to achieve that new direction, which is of course management.
You can see why so many people can be confused about the difference between the two roles. But then, if there are indeed some blurred lines and overlaps between the role of a manager and the role of a leader, why is it that leadership is so important for a business and what benefits can it bring?
Ultimately, when people are engaged they want to work and so their outputs are optimised. Under the direction of a great leader, these people can understand why what they’re doing is so important, how it contributes to the bigger picture and they therefore want to come along on the journey – it’s employee buy-in. To achieve this, leaders need to be skilled story-tellers; painting pictures and setting strong propositions for their team. They need to understand the KPIs that matter most to achieving a goal and keep an eye and ear on what’s happening in the market place too.
At Aspire Development, we recognise the importance of firstly distinguishing the differences between leadership and management, and then equipping leaders and managers with the skills they need to successfully fulfil their role. That’s why we’ve developed our Advanced Management Skills open programme.
Over a series of five workshops, managers learn the advanced skills they need to build on their management and develop leadership; covering topics including: leading strategically, customer excellence, personal excellence as a leader, leading your people and improving the business. As well as developing these skills in a practical manner that will easily transfer into the workplace and bring about real business benefits, delegates also have the option of gaining a formal qualification from the Institute of Learning Management (ILM).
Without great leadership, a business would no doubt continue to operate with its management team, but it’s doubtful there’d be any change; managers would be so busy delivering for today that they wouldn’t see what’s coming in the future. However, those who equip themselves with leadership skills will be better positioned in the market place, and will have a team that feels part of the journey, which is the ultimate business benefit of developing leaders.
To find out more about Aspire Development’s Advanced Management Skills open programme, click here.