Over the years there have been a plethora of attempts to distinguish between leadership and management – and then those who take the position that the two are just synonyms.
Have no doubts – I do take a position in this long-term discussion. 🙂
My short and unscientific description of the difference between the two is that Management is about systems and processes, whereas Leadership is about people.
However, this post is not about trying to differentiate between the two.
I want to argue that to have success as a leader/manager that you have to master both sets of competencies!
Successful leaders master both the specific professional competencies of the area of business where they are managers. At the same time, they also master the art and science of people.
Just like we humans are equipped with two legs – a successful leader also needs two legs – management and leadership. As with us human beings, we function best if both legs are equally long. People who are in the unfortunate situation to have legs of two different lengths, experience many physical issues which can be linked back to this imbalance – issues with their back, hips, knees, etc.
The same with leaders – they need to be balanced. A leader who focuses more on leadership than management, will create a business that maybe has difficulty developing a business strategy – or difficulty understanding its own finances – or difficulty in operations.
On the other hand – a leader who focuses more on management may have all the systems and processes in place – but without people who are motivated to actually create results, the results will be at best mediocre.
Just for my own benefit, I drew the above figure – and I think it actually sums up the concept pretty well. I could probably pep it up with what happens in the three other quadrants – but that will have to wait until another post.
The point is – the magic happens when you have a healthy balance between management and leadership. This is where success appears for leaders.
Good luck to everyone striving for this balance!