For our next discussion topic we’d like to take a look at something that touches all of us: management and leadership. We all have managers and leaders in our professional lives, and some of us may be managers, leaders, or both.
It’s common to ask what the difference is between management and leadership – and there is a large body of literature devoted to that question. One difference between management and leadership is that “management involves power by position” while “leadership involves power by influence” (Wayne Bivens-Tatum). This could be interpreted as managers having formal power and responsibilities defined by an organisation, while leaders have informal power and responsibilities that are less explicit. Some definitions include the idea that a core management responsibility is to measure and track work activities, and a core leadership responsibility is to motivate and inspire staff. Obviously these tasks require very different skills.
Here are some resources to help understand the difference between management and leadership:
- Three differences between managers and leaders, from the Harvard Business Review
- Management vs leadership: five ways in which they are different, from Forbes
- What’s the difference between leadership and management?, from The Guardian
However, you’ll notice that we, and many people, write about management and leadership as if they are the same thing. While we recognise significant differences between the two areas of practice, we also believe that successful organisations and professions require both leadership and management – so you’ll see us referring to both in the discussion topic ahead.
The Core Competency Leadership Model (Ammons- Stephens, et. al.,2009) identifies four skills central to leadership competency:
- Cognitive ability – problem solving, decision making and reflective thinking
- Vision – global, creative, forward thinking
- Interpersonal effectiveness – cultural competency, accountability, team building, motivational and communication skills
- Managerial effectiveness – managing change, resource management, strategic planning, collaboration, flexibility/adaptability.
Some questions you might like to use to start the discussion on management and leadership with your partner are:
- Are you in a management position at work? Or is this something you aspire to?
- What do you think are important qualities for a good manager or leader?
- Who is the best manager that you’ve had? What made them such a good manager?
- Are there people that you think of as leaders in your organisation or your local professional community?
–Alyson Dalby, ILN Director of Business Operations