Many people in leadership positions are also in management positions. As a result, these two concepts are sometimes mistakenly considered to be similar or even identical.
They are not.
Even the dictionary thinks they are similar. Management is defined as the act of directing, handling or controlling. While leadership is defined as guiding or directing a group.
While the definitions may be similar, I believe the concepts are very different.
A manager handles, directs and controls people and activities in order to complete tasks. To be a successful manager, you must be task-oriented. Think about the managers in your business. They may have many people who report to them. They may be responsible for large budgets. However, everything they do as a manager is about accomplishing tasks – completing a job on time and within budget; producing a product; designing a website; producing a report, etc.
Leaders, on the other hand, must be focused on a bigger picture. Leaders develop, articulate and live by the values they want their company to represent. Leaders create a vision for their company and get all their employees to buy-in to making that vision a reality.
Of course leaders often have responsibilities that are “management-oriented”. However, the difference between leaders and managers is distinct. Great companies need great managers but they also need great leaders to be successful long term.
Are you a leader, a manager or both?