The conversation surrounding leadership and management is an important one. While management was a major emphasis in the 20th century, focusing on stability and control, leadership has come to the forefront later in the 20th century and into our current time. In contrast to stability and control, leadership emphasizes valuing change, valuing people, empowerment of people, and the central place of relationships in organizational life.
Leadership and Management Described
John Kotter provides a helpful overview of the distinction between leadership and management. Management’s orientation around stability and control is characterized by dimensions such as (a) planning and budgeting, (b) organizing and staffing, and (c) controlling and problem-solving. leadership’s orientation around people, empowerment, and relationships is characterized by (a) direction-setting, (b) aligning, and (c) motivating.
Processes vs. People
While management focuses on stability and efficiency of processes, leadership focuses on navigating people and systems toward change and insuring that the team or organization is focused on the right things. The language of processes and people is also helpful. Management tends to be more process and object focused; leadership tends to be more people and human resource focused.
Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
The temptation is to raise one of these as more important than the other. Organizations and followers need both stability (management) and change (leadership). Organizations and followers need both efficiency (management) and effectiveness (leadership). In contrasting the two, I think my natural tendency is to focus on the big picture and whether or not we are making progress toward the right goals for our community. Because of this, I need to regularly and intentionally ensure that the managerial side of my departments is not being lost in the leadership emphasis.
Pursuing Both in Your Practice
Whether we tend toward leadership or management, we need to remember that our organizations need both. Make sure that you know your tendency so that you may give attention to balancing this out in your own practice and through the diverse people brought onto your team.
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