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Leadership versus Management

Leadership versus Management - there is a world of difference between the two ... between the focus and the types of results achieved. Many corporate leadership development programs focus on providing skills that are more management focused - which may not always equip you with the skills you need to successfully navigate your way to success in today's organizations.

Life is rapidly changing and so too the way you influence people must be able to shift rapidly to meet the new requirements.

To get a sense of how much change is in store for us, consider how different life was in 1982, only a few decades ago. (Eeek, I am showing my age with that last sentence and the next para which I remember well!)

Reagan was President in the US, The Berlin Wall was still up and the Cold War was still waging, the Falklands War was being fought.

Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes were singing "Up there Where We Belong", it was the start of a world-wide recession, Prince William was born, the Commonwealth Games were held in Brisbane, Tootsie & Ghandi were on at the movies, M.A.S.H was still on t.v, we'd never heard of test-tube babies or Friends!

The El Nino of 1982 was the most severe in the 20th century, the Sydney Harbor Bridge celebrated its 50th birthday by allowing 500,000 people to walk across her, the Twin Towers stood tall on the New York skyline.

And, at work...

  • There were no faxes, answering machines, or cell phones
  • Rotary phones and typewriters were commonplace
  • If people had computers at all, they were dumb terminals
  • Semiconductors, cable TV, and the Internet were not major industries
  • "Made in Japan" was just beginning to mean quality, not junk
  • Many of what are now the world's largest markets were closed to outside trade

So, what do the next 10, 15, 20 years hold?

One thing is for certain the way you are managing and leading today is going to be different - and if you don't keep up you will probably be left behind - or worse yet become extinct like the typewriter!

Today you are probably expected to:

  • Produce more
  • Increase profits/minimize costs
  • Make sharper/better/quicker decisions
  • Respond effectively to the needs of your people
  • Manage multiple projects
  • Be available 24/7 ... enslaved to your electronic media

In order to do this and more, you may need to make some shifts. The table below lists some key distinctions between leadership vs management. Pick one or two and focus on improving your skills in that area.

For example, many leaders, when they first come into coaching with me, are running on crisis problem solving and very caught up in the day-to-day.

Through coaching they get better at being problem anticipators and spending time on anticipating the big picture and where they are leading their business unit to. Changing their focus in this way has seen many of these leaders get promotions and all of them feeling like they are more in control of their work life.

Leadership versus Management: Key Distinctions

Old Way=
Low Performance
New Way =
High Performance
Maintaining status quo Leading the charge for continuous improvement
A Business focused on current conditions vs A business designed for the long-term
Dumping change on people Involving people in the change process
Like it or lump it vs Together we can make this transition easier and quicker
Tolerating low performance Accepting only High Performance
I don't want the hassle of dealing with you vs The better Leader I am the better you will be
One Management Style fits all Flexibility of Leadership, asking people how to best lead them
My way or the highway vs How can I help you be your best?
Avoiding staff problems On-time feedback about performance
Maybe it will go away vs Every player in this game is important
Patronizing, Critical, Gossiping Leading with Integrity
I am your judge vs With my constructive support you can improve
Solving problems well - but often in crisis state Anticipating Problems
Busy, busy, busy vs Strategically working on the business
Focussing on weaknesses Having people work in roles in which their strengths can be maximized
You have to fit your job vsWhich roles/tasks here best suit you
Asking a person to improve/change Seeing the greatness in a person and asking them to step up to their potential
You aren't good enough vs There is so much more to you
Expecting compliance Providing reasons, seeking debate and input, responding to feedback
Poor implementation vs High acceptance of, and excellent implementation of change and work processes
"I'm watching you" "Do you have all the resources you need?"
Distrusting Boss vs Trusted Partner
"It's your job, so get on with it" "Tell me how I can help you succeed"
Employees having to vs Employees wanting to
Source of recognition and approval Source of Endorsement and Challenge
People needing your approval vs People seeing you as the person who creates opportunities for them to grow
Fear based Environment Safe, Love based Environment
"I can't, in case I get in trouble" vs "Let's give it a try and see what we learn"
Creating Push Environment Creating a Pull Environment
Employees avoiding responsibility vs Employees feel confident to seek responsibility
Focusing on the past Perfecting the Present
Focused on fear vs Focusing on what we can do right now
Working in the Business Working on the Business
Focused on today vs Focused on today and the future
Reacting to Senior Management Managing Up
I have little/no control vs I can influence our future
Giving in to failure, disappointment Resiliently creating new opportunities, where none seem to exist
Victim vs Self-Responsible
Pretending to care about people Deeply caring about people
Manipulation vs Love
Manage by rules Lead by principles
Decisions made on history vs Decisions made on the situation at hand
Motivate through competition Motivate through co-operation
Struggling against vs Working together
Content with static skills Creates the space for personal growth and development
Stagnant vs Enriching Learning Organizations
Focus on short-term results Focus on immediate and big picture
Keeping head above water vs Strategically set for the future
Systems that create people who know how to perform tasks Creating systems that enable people to handle information and knowledge
I'm doing my job vs I am a business owner
Wanting people to rely on you for answers Expecting people to be their own solution centre
Ego-centered Manager vs High Performance Leader
Doing it by yourself Understanding the importance of having someone coach you to a higher level of performance
Same results vs Continuous self-growth and improvement

Leadership versus management - which is your pathway to success? If you truly want to be a leader of this new millennium then start putting yourself at the leading edge - become a member of the 'Make A Dent Club' where you get access to the resources you need to be at your best and bring out the best in others. Join today.

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