Manage things and lead people

29 09 2011

Management and leadership are words that people often use interchangeably. It is important to know the difference and defining these words is simple. Being able to distinguish the two, will make you a better manager and a leader of your team.

Manage things and lead people.

Plain and simple, managers’ key function is to take care of the practical aspects in the business. By definition, to manage is to direct or control. Applied to business, these can be budgets, schedules, plans, projects, and millions of other things.

This aspect of management in the organization is extremely important and needs to be done effectively. The difference comes when thinking about where people come into this. After all, people are the most important asset to the organization, so are we going to “direct and control” them? It is outdated and impossible to think that in today’s workplace, people are going to perform to their best ability if they are being directed and controlled.

Managing and leading are not mutually exclusive. They should be combined. Hard skills of management complement the soft skills of leadership. The ones who can manage and lead are the ones who will produce great results for the company.

People in the organization need to follow a leader, rather than be managed by a manager. The people will respond to being led. Leadership must be an influence relationship. That is, there are leaders with strong intentions and possess integrity and personal responsibility. Then, there are followers who share a purpose and vision with the leader.

Here are six things you can that can help you shift from managing your people to leading them:

1)   Think about the differences when you were led or managed. When did you perform more effectively, and why?

2)   Talk with those whom you have led or managed. Explain to them the differences of managing and leading. Ask for their help making sure you lead them, not manage them.

3)   Look for the strengths of the employees within the organization and find ways where they can effectively express those strengths.

4)   Lead the way. Jump in and get dirty. Show them that you can work your way in and work through a tough situation.

5)   Build relationships. Leadership is relationship based. Without building relationships

Here is a scene from one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13. Ed Harris shows that in addition to managing your project, you have to lead the team. A good leader lets the team work out problems because they know that one person can’t do everything by themselves.

Failure is not an option




2 responses

3 10 2011

I agree with your views on going from managing to leading in all aspects of society.

3 10 2011

Thank you for following Garrett! -Zach

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