Leadership vs Management

Management and leadership practices can often be overlooked as two different organisational styles.

Zellis HR

Apr 13th 2016

Leadership vs Management

‘Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.’ Steve Jobs

Management and leadership practices can often be overlooked as two different organisational styles. Many believe that each of these styles are the same and neither reaps bigger benefits or results than the other, or perhaps this notion has been perceived as many people are unaware or have not explored the depths of human motivational factors and needs.

John Kotter, Leadership Professor at Harvard University argues that ‘Management can be viewed as a set of procedures that keep an organisation functioning. They make it work today – they make it hit this quarter’s number. The processes are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance and problem solving when results did not go to plan’

On the other hand leadership uses different practices which seem to be the more evolved version of management ‘It is about aligning people to the vision means buy-in and communication, inspiration and motivation.’ Leadership encourages people to tap into their true potential and bring to life the best version of an employee/individual.

We can easily start to realise how these two practices could not be any more different from each other and how being able to differentiate between them is crucial for organisational success. Employees are at the heart of a company, they are what makes the wheels go round, so it is easy to see how unhappy employees can tarnish the image and progression of an establishment. It is crucial for a business to understand the stimulations and motivations of its workforce, if they successfully tap into this mind-set they will be able to understand and nurture their employees to excel – after all employees are the face of the company.

Management on the other hand can be important to ensure timescales are adhered to and work obligations are met, but it should not be encompassed as the main style of people processes. Management can help to maintain results and keep day to day processes but change and development can only come from leadership.

‘Management is arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing’ Tom Peters

Chris Roebuck argues that leadership is about what you do, regardless of what role or which chair you sit in. The ‘CEO ‘title does not immediately assure or translate someone’s ability to be a successful leader. Whether a person is a leader and how good a leader they are is something only others can judge.

For many organisations, there has never been a more important time for HR to lead, and more importantly for HR leaders to step up. Many statistics show that employees are not performing to their full potential which can be critical for many companies. If the company is achieving a satisfactory turnover imagine what this could be if your employees gave 100%, and motivation and leadership was improved.

A huge portion of organisational success lies in the hands of employees. Understanding their needs and motivations can unlock hidden potential not only of employees but of the organisation as well.

Understanding how to lead employees and meet their needs can make them feel secure within their post, valued and important to the company’s success, feeding their creativity and inspiration which is paramount to company evolution and driving market share.

‘When I talk to managers I get the feeling that they are important. When I talk to leaders I get the feeling that I am important.’ Anonymous

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