What's better? To manage or to lead?

Management v leadership: Round two


Scrolling through the internet, web surfers can find a multitude of sources arguing that being a manager is not the same as being a leader. Although they are different, strong management skills should still form a key part of any individual’s toolkit.

In other words, unlike what you tend to read on the internet, management and leadership skills compliment each other.

Is management still important?

Management is best defined as a set of processes or skills: planning, budgeting, problem solving and time management are all good examples. These are essential to the efficient running of organisations – of all sizes.

With the transformation of scientific management, whereby workers are no longer cogs in a machine, leadership and management are more important than ever.

Workers look to managers to not only delegate tasks but to define their roles. Management is as much about nurturing skills as it is about maximising efficiency.

Individuals can be both a leader and a manager

There seems to exist an idea or a theory that individuals are either a manager or a leader, not both.

Usually, management is defined as skills whereas leadership is based on traits. By implication, skills are usually described as learnt while traits are seen as innate. Believe it or not, this is a fallacious argument.

“Any theory that regards personality as stable, fixed, or invariable is wrong,” said the creator of personality studies Gordon Allport.

Instead, think of leadership and management as a series of dispositions that can be learned and unlearned through an individual’s experiences. A key part of this process is training. Namely, gaining experience and the know-how from existing leaders and managers.

What can I do?

Having both sets of dispositions gives you the required toolkit to deliver impeccable results while showing your employers you’re the right person for the job.

Management and leadership qualities are not always innate, rather, through training, professionals can fine tune their understanding of the principles and learn to lead and manage effectively.

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