Leadership vs. Management; what is the difference? Leadership theorists and researchers suggest that there are clear and convincing differences between the two. By understanding the differences, we must first define the terms. While reviewing a wide variety of thoughts, opinions and theories, I have concluded the following:
LEADERSHIP tends to involve visionary thinking, belief that with great risk comes great reward, achievement of goals by inspiring followers, motivation and possessing the qualities that mirror the organization’s mission and vision.
Whereas MANAGEMENT tends to involve direction of day-to-day operational tasks, management and maintenance of budgets and deadlines, directing teams to achieve goals by establishing objectives.
In defining the terms, we realize that management is operational, task oriented, budget conscious and mindful of deadlines, and leaders are inspirational, motivational, visionary, big-picture and long-term focused. Leaders lead people and managers manage tasks.
Research, although often contradictory, generally concludes that the most effective leader possesses a strong and balanced combination of both effective management and inspired leadership.
As I take a moment to revisit my career path, I know that I have encountered many respectable managers and a few good leaders, but seldom have I encountered a true leader, who encompasses the positive qualities of effective management and inspiring leadership. I realize that for many, their lives have become focused on managing the day-to-day this-and-that, trying to find balance between the job, the spouse, the kids, the bills, the cat, the dog, but where is the inspiration? Have we become a society of managers that lack effective leadership skills? And if so, how can we become inspired in our careers and in our personal lives and find balance in both? I have learned that when we are inspired, we are energetic and enthusiastic about what we do. Inspiration is something that we must seek out when it is absent from our life.
As a Human Resources Consultant, I have encountered an extensively vast number of individuals who possess unique and wonderful qualities. As part of development, I have been trained to seek out these qualities and advise on development plans for individuals who may fit the mold of tomorrow’s leaders. Although few and far between, I encourage these individuals to follow their passion. If an employee has the core qualities of a leader, yet he is actively disengaged in his current position, where might he better fit in? What is it that inspires him? These are the questions that we need to be answered. If one is inspired, then it is likely that those around him will also be inspired. A true leader exudes energy and an organization can enjoy the benefits of increased productivity, profitability and employees who find fulfillment in their careers.
Human Resource professionals of the modern age know that we play a key role in developing the workforce of tomorrow. For those aspiring leaders, listen to your heart, turn your passion into a career and go forth and conquer!
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