You would be hard pressed to find an employee that desires management over leadership. Since management focuses on the process of a task, many in a leadership role tend to stick in this space as it may be what is most familiar. It’s much easier to ask someone, “Hey, did you get that done?” Management is focused on the actual process of a task and leadership is focused on the person’s ability to carry out the task based on teaching, training and coaching. A leader will provide the task but follow it up with the needed teaching and motivation for the employee to carry it out.
In spending the necessary time with employees, a leader will learn how to get the most out of employees because the leader has taken the time to understand their skills and abilities along with their personalities and motivations. A leader’s role is to provide clear direction on how to accomplish a goal by prioritizing tasks, assigning responsibility for completion, and ensuring team members understand the standard. A key aspect is that the leader also allows his or her followers the freedom to modify plans and orders to adapt to changing circumstances.
Many that are in a management role have yet to learn the distinct difference between managing and leading. The reason lies inherently in the decision-making process of those in charge. Many folks in ”leadership” roles hire those that they believe have the ability to “get the job done” or with whom they have a previous working relationship. This newly hired “manager” doesn’t necessarily come with all of the tools needed to successfully lead a team and will most likely follow a similar path of whomever they have previously worked under. If their previous manager didn’t know the difference between managing processes vs. leading people, you will get a perpetual cycle of “managing people.” Without cultivation of true leadership skills within management, the entire organization may be impacted.
One of my favorite leadership books is Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corp Way by Dan Carrison and Rod Walsh. In the Marine Corps, they recognize the importance of providing clear, concise direction for people to follow in order to accomplish a task. Tasks are processes delivered by people and can be managed. A manager will focus on the completion of the task (with varying results) where a leader will focus on the person carrying out the task. Leading allows for in-depth and comprehensive discussions that focus on the skills of an individual. The connectivity between the leader and employee affects the productivity and success of not only the employee, but also of the goal or task. Leaders recognize the need to instill discipline and enforce standards within a team, yet also build and sustain morale by supporting members. Leaders educate, train, and developed their team members to ensure that tasks are completed while empowering individual members to contribute to the overall success of the organization.