Leadership = Management?

Ariane von Berg, Thursday 05 June 2014 | Reading time: unknown

What is the difference between leadership and management?

Leadership is on everyone’s lips, the great majority of job listings ask candidates to have “strong leadership skills” and academic institutions continuously create new leadership courses and workshops. But what exactly is this famous leadership? And how is it different from management?

For the most part, management entails a well-known set of processes executed by the manager. A manager plans, budgets and structures jobs that need to be completed to achieve pre-defined targets and goals. Moreover, as a manager you administer processes and monitor progress to ensure that deadlines are met and restrictions are not being overrun. Special skills are needed to fulfill all management responsibilities in an effective manner: you need to prioritize, require time management and organization skills, and you need to learn how to delegate tasks.

The human asset

One of the most difficult assets that fall under management responsibility are people. Human resources must be hired, trained on the job, scheduled and assigned to tasks. Once work has been completed, the manager must evaluate the performance with regards to quality, effectiveness and efficiency. The most demanding management issues arise when human resources underperform. Managing physical assets and financial resources to increase their efficiency is a much easier job than finding a good way of managing people.

Leaders are visionaries

In order to be an effective manager, you don’t have to be a leader as leadership is different from management. Warren Bennis, dubbed by Forbes as the “dean of leadership gurus” (Source: Business Week), in his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader”, defined a leader as a visionary who is able to take an organization into the future. With eyes always focused on the horizon, a leader finds and seizes opportunities that come his or her way. Leadership is less associated with a person’s attributes but more with their behavior. Focusing on the people, leadership is about inspiring and motivating profitable changes to keep up with the events in an ever faster moving (business) environment.

Leadership + management

The fact that leadership and management can be most precisely defined in describing what part of one is not part of the other, proves that leadership and management cannot be that easily separated. Contrary to a common belief that management should step-by-step replace by leadership, they serve different, yet vital and complementary functions in successful business development. Excellent management is needed in order for organizations to stay reliable and efficient. And superb leaders are required to prepare organizations for the challenges they face in a fast-moving world.

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