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Managing Vs. Leading

In the business sphere, there are few people more important than the project manager. This job requires the holding together of many points of view and making sure that both the project team and project overseers, or upper brass, are content with the job being done. Many project managers are under a fair amount of stress and do what they can with the role they’re assigned.

This being said, many managers aren’t true leaders, too preoccupied with results and deadlines to truly lead and develop their team. If you’re wondering what the difference between effective management and effective leadership are, read this quick and informative guide.

  • Managers deal with details while leaders contend with ideas and motivation
  • Managers crave order but leaders crave altercation of perception
  • In both cases, these roles are more common than people think

What Makes A Manager?

Management is universal; there are many different ways to describe what a manager does and how they operate. Managers’ jobs are relatively simple and straightforward…they manage. They can manage objects, machinery, or people, but they all manage something or someone. Many different roles in a company are involved in management, not just project managers.

For example, a CEO of a company “manages” the company, including its revenue flows and the project workflows of subordinates. Mangers can manage anything and there are many different types of mangers in roles which all have different names and descriptions. There is no one type of manager or one way to correctly manage something or someone.

What Makes A Leader?

Leaders, similarly, have no official title and no mandate to do their job in a set way or with any one set of particular methods, though many leaders do have a preferred way of doing things. Rather than a set description or title, leaders are made up of a set of traits which they use to command the attention and respect of their underlings or colleagues.

Leaders guide groups and organizations in the right direction and are often responsible for making key decisions which keep the focus in check and the entity in which they’re leading operating at a productive and efficient clip. Like managers, many people lead, although leading is most often used to refer to people leading other people. As you can see, there are several similarities between managers and leaders, although there are some key differences as well.

Difference In Details And Development

Managers, inherently, need to be meticulous about what they do and pay careful attention to the details they’re in charge of. Mangers have many different forms of write-ups and employee reviews they can comb through to track results and make sure everything is operating smoothly. Many managers must deal with the details not only of their team – such as differences in opinions and working methods – but must also deal with the finances of projects and errors in paperwork and other miscellaneous details. Managers, out of necessity, are all about details.

Leaders, on the other hand, are all about mentorship and development. A leader will let employees know about the different mistakes they see and offer guidance through their expertise on how to correct such mistakes. Leaders will also offer tips frequently on how to improve daily routines and offer up ideas on how to make operations more efficient or run smoother. Leaders take it upon themselves to teach the team, where a manager is more concerned with keeping the ship afloat from day to day.

A Sense Of Self

Each of us have a different sense of who we are and why we do what we do. For example, managers are often more secure in their place in the world and thus want to put it into order; they manage the aspects of life around them in an attempt to make peace of them, like the peace they feel inside themselves. Managers identify personally with things which are ordered and are constantly trying to order things which are currently in disarray.

Leaders are entirely separate from this philosophy. Leaders see themselves as inherently separate from the entities over which they provide and try to alter the perceptions of those around them, oftentimes for the better. They use a variety of method to achieve this goal but their ultimate responsibility, in their eyes, is to broaden the perspective of their colleagues and enhance the creativity and solutions of those around them.

Ideas Vs. Execution

Based on the information above, it’s no surprise that most managerial cultures tend to emphasize rationality and control over their current situations, while leadership cultures are more concerned about opportunities which exist for improvement, both on an individual level and on an organizational level. Leaders are more outside-the-box thinkers and can create new ideas to aid in the efficiency of a company or team, whereas managers try not to rock the boat.

As people who are more concerned with details, they rarely take invasive action unless the workflow is seriously compromised, as to not alter the present course of affairs. In short, managers are obsessed with the “how” and “when” of a situation, but leaders are more concerned with the “what” and the “why.”


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