A century has passed, but the debate is still on between leadership and management. Leading and Managing are two different ways of organizing people. Leadership is a way of setting new ideas, direction and vision for a group that they follow. On the other hand, Management controls or directs people and resources in a group according to values or principles that have already been established. The manager is rather tend to use a formal, rational method whilst the leader uses passion and stir emotions. (Laurie J. Mullins, 2013)
People naturally and willingly follow leaders due to their charisma and persona, whereas a manager is followed due to the formal authority assigned to them. As a result, people tend to be more loyal towards leaders rather than managers.
“Leadership is doing the right things; management is doing things right”. – Peter Drucker
Leadership is one of the several faces of management. Often the same people play wear different hats – both leader and manager – at different points in time. Although not essential, it certainly helps a manager if he/she is also a good leader. Equally, leaders do well if they have some degree of management skills because it helps them envision the implementation of their strategic vision.
Self-motivated groups may not need a leader and may find leaders dominating. Alternatively, small teams may find a natural leader emerge based on his/her specialized skills. But this leader may be subordinate to the team manager in the organizational hierarchy, which may lead to conflicts.
In today’s business world, leaders and managers need to take a tough decisions and act quickly. A change is must. We all had bosses (from school teacher to a boss at workplace) who seem to style themselves on military leaders, however treating the workplace as a battle ground is something which few respond well to. When changing your approach towards your team or subordinates, one should not create a culture of fear amongst employees. Mistake are part of an individual growth, as well as a company’s. (Richard Branson, 2011)
Richard Branson is one such leader who has made his fair share of mistakes, while also knowing a thing or two about what it takes to be a real leader, people look up to him. Walk through any of the Virgin offices around the world and you will really struggle to find somebody who has seen the company’s Founder raise his voice when the working gets tough.
“High pressured situations need to be handled, all whilst keeping your eye on the businesses real goal”. – Richard Branson
In his book ‘Like a Virgin’, he desires today’s leader and manager to change their approach towards managing and leading people. He says, when next time someone says to you, ‘Okay, you’re the boss’ as they head for your office door, stop them in their tracks with ‘Not Really, we’re all in this together. So come back here and tell me what you’d be doing with this if you were in my place?’ Good examples of leadership can be infectious. Perhaps, Richard Branson says, the new corporate mantra should be ‘Bosses should be seen and not heard’. (Richard Branson, 2012)
Image 1: Traditional v/s Collaborative Leaders
“No company, big or small, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”
According to former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, there are three key words in that quote that all speak to communication: energized, believe, and understand. A leader simply cannot create an energized team of believers who understand the mission if he or she does not inspire that team through effective communication. (Forbes, 2011) He or she needs to follow 7 steps to INSPIRE the people:
- Ignite your enthusiasm
- Navigate the way
- Sell the benefit
- Paint a picture
- Invite participation
- Reinforce optimism
- Encourage potential
What leadership boils down to is, people. Whatever your style, whatever your method, you need to believe in yourself, your ideas and your staff. Nobody can be successful alone and you cannot be a great leader without great people to lead. You have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Nobody respects a leader who doesn’t know how to get his hands dirty and innovate personally. The trick is in striking the right balance between empowering your staff and being an example for them to follow.
Of course, there will be times when strong and decisive leadership is necessary, to make sure the right moves are made. If you place the emphasis on getting the little things right, and address the everyday problems that come up, you can encourage a culture of attention to detail. You can also have a lot of fun with these relatively tiny issues, whether it’s dealing personally with customer’s complaints or surprising your front-line staff with a visit. (Richard Branson, 2014)
So what qualities do you respect in a leader? Do you prefer somebody who is ready and willing to waste in with the rest of the workforce, or perhaps you like to follower a leader who takes a more primary approach? Maybe you are a leader yourself, in which case, you have learned a lesson about managing staff in the correct way in today’s world.
- Mullins, L.J. (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour. 10th edition. Pearson Education
- Branson, R. (2012) Like a Virgin. Virgin Books
- Torres, S. (2013). Leadership vs Management: Differences and Similarities. [Online] Available From: <http://www.creditunionbusiness.com/2013/09/19/leadership-vs-management-differences-and-similarities/> [16 March 2015]
- Ehsani, A. (2014). Leadership vs Management. [Online] Available From: < https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140405095248-127785129-leadership-vs-management> [16 March 2015]
- Branson, R. (2011). True Business Leaders think differently. [Online] Available From: <http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/true-business-leaders-think-differently> [15 March 2015]
- Branson, R. (2015). How to be Real Leader. [Online] Available From: <http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/richard-branson-how-be-real-leader> [15 March 2015]
- Branson, R. (2015). The Four Traits of collaborative Leadership. [Online] Available From: <http://www.virgin.com/unite/business-innovation/the-four-traits-of-collaborative-leadership> [15 March 2015]
- Gallo, C. (2011). Richard Branson: The One Skill Leaders Need to Learn. [Online] Available From: <http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2011/06/29/richard-branson-the-one-skill-leaders-need-to-learn/> [15 March 2015]