It’s Easier to Give Than to Receive, But Not Necessarily Better
A Big Goal Is Not The Same As a Vision

leaders vs. managers
Leadership is about where you’re going and your journey along the way. It involves changing the status quo in order to create a desired future. Leadership behaviors include:

  • Challenging the current way of doing things: searching for opportunities and taking risks
  • Creating shared meaning and understanding of actions and events
  • Inspiring a shared vision
  • Fostering collaboration and strengthening others
  • Recognizing and celebrate accomplishments and small wins
  • Setting an example: acting consistently, creating trust
  • Moving forward with self-confidence, focusing on a vision not obstacles, learning from mistakes

Management is about implementation. It’s about developing yourself and others to become high performers, putting processes in place that support accomplishing goals and ensuring that tasks are accomplished well. Management behaviors include:

  • Goal setting
  • Planning work
  • Defining roles
  • Organizing resources
  • Measuring progress
  • Developing supportive relationships: listening, encouraging and praising
  • Directing and facilitating progress

High performance teams need both management and leadership. It’s not necessary for the leader to provide management if the team can manage itself. But the leader must always have a focus on the vision.

Is it better to lead than to manage? The answer is, “no.” Both leadership and management behaviors are needed for a team to move to high performance. Leaders need to either provide the needed management behaviors or ensure they are being provided.

Managers need to lead and leaders need to manage.

In 1985 Warren Bennis said: Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right. At that time, his statement was helpful because business was over-focused on management theory and techniques, without much thought about the role of vision and strategy.

However, we have now gone too far in the other direction by over-valuing leadership and de-valuing management.

It’s time to retire the conversation about leaders vs. managers.

First of all it’s insulting. The issue is not who people are. It doesn’t matter whether your title is leader, executive, administrator, manager, supervisor, chief, head, or lead.

It also doesn’t matter what your level is in the organization. In order to execute on a vision, both leadership and management are needed at every level.

The conversation needs to shift to which behavior is required in a particular moment. 

The more important conversation is: What does your team need from you right now to journey successfully from vision to reality? 

*In the Leaders vs. Managers study, leadership behaviors were measured using The Leadership Practices Inventory developed by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner and The Leader Behavior Questionnaire developed by Marshall Sashkin, based on research by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus.The list of leadership behaviors comes from their research. Management behaviors were measured by the Leader Behavior Analysis developed by Ken Blanchard, Ron Hambleton, Drea Zigarmi, and Douglas Forsyth and by the LBQ-M developed by Marshall Sashkin. The list of management behaviors comes from research originally conducted at Ohio State University (Stogdill and Coons, 1957) and University of Michigan (Bowers and Seashore, 1966).
It’s Easier to Give Than to Receive, But Not Necessarily Better
A Big Goal Is Not The Same As a Vision

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