Leadership vs. Management: Understanding The Key Difference What occurs when leaders and managers meet? You will get the answer from Dr. Helen K. Ezell, who wrote a very popular book Managing Polarities: Putting Business and Organizations in the Right Balance. In this very timely book, she presents four keys to understanding the difference between leadership and management. These four key distinctions will help you recognize and avoid the bad effects of either leadership or management.
“You can be a good leader or a good manager. You cannot be both.” This famous line from Gandhi has a lot of resonance today. It reminds us that while the desire for power may drive a good leader, the need for caring and sharing is fundamental for managing people and organizations. Leadership, by definition, involves motivating and inspiring others through effective communication and creating an environment where followers are inspired to do great things.
“Managers can only manage; leadership will propel you toward success.” – Howard Stern, co-host of the famous Stern Show
If you are working in a corporate organization, you will most likely spend much of your time in meetings. If there are significant problems arising in your workplace, you may find yourself as the leader charged with taking those issues before the group. While all leaders are motivated to solve problems, the difference between leaders who are effective in solving problems and ineffective leaders lies in their ability to communicate effectively.
You cannot be both a good leader and ineffective manager. Unfortunately, many companies work to build up managers who are not highly skilled communicators and are not good at building effective teams. This group of “management malpractice” is the cause of much of the disconnect between management and employees that exists in today’s business environment.
“You can have everything in order but it still boils down to one person: yourself. No matter how perfect your system is, if you don’t lead yourself, you won’t achieve your goals.” – Howard Kurtz, president of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and author of Leadership vs. Management. (With Rich Pelham.)
If you want to be a good leader or stay a good leader, you must learn to become a “people person.” Effective leaders tend to be “people people,” excellent communicators and good listeners. Leaders who are not good listeners often misread or misinterpreted others signals, which can lead to tense situations. A truly effective leader understands that a listening ear and a keen mind are indispensable for good leadership. People skills may be learned, but the foundation for success is understanding and trusting people.
You can be a good leader or not. Only you can decide whether leadership and management are right for you. The key is choosing a quality of character that will serve you well as both an individual and as a member of your team, and as a manager and as a team leader.
Some characteristics of good leaders are: honesty, respect, dependability, accountability, and optimism. On the other hand, some characteristics of bad leaders are: pride, ego, self-centeredness, intolerance, jealousy, lack of empathy, insensitivity, timidity, negativity, pride and superiority. The difference between these two types of leaders may be difficult to recognize at first glance. However, as you interact with each type of leader and learn to manage them, you will probably see the fundamental differences and recognize how each can be transformed into a valuable member of your team, organization or business. To get started, consider these seven characteristics that character traits share among good leaders and bad ones.
Honest leadership is essential for creating a trusting environment among team members. A trustworthy leader understands the need for confidentiality in order to build strong relationships with employees and clients. In addition, he knows how to set expectations, communicate honestly, manage conflict, and make decisions in a timely manner.
Respectful leadership requires you to set a standard of behavior for your employees. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most popular person in your team, people must know that they can trust you and that they can have confidence in you. Be sure to always be accepting and encouraging to people who try to improve themselves or come into your team. People will value you more and feel secure if they know you value them as well.
Accountability allows people to see their role in creating positive changes in the business. Good leaders are accountable for the actions of their employees. They understand the need for meaningful feedback and they provide it willingly. They also set policies and rules and encourage people to follow them. Bad leaders don’t provide any accountability and often make up excuses for their bad behavior.
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