“What’s the difference between management and leadership?”
A variation of that question (leadership versus management) is keyed into Google more than 1.2 million times a month. Leadership certainly is a hot topic.
Do people want to know the difference between leadership and simply being a manger, or are they asking how to be better at what they are doing?
Leadership steps that management must take to get better at what they do include:
So here’s a true story of one of the managers I worked with
Perhaps you could assess this manager against those leadership steps?
So what’s the big difference between leadership and management?
Every week I talk to managers who fear they might be failing the leadership test.
Every week I work with teams who feel their managers are not leaders.
Recently I read an article by John Kotter where he spent 650 words bemoaning the fact that people use the terms “manager” and “leader” interchangeably.
This really set my teeth grinding because, for me, this totally misses the point.
In real companies, in real teams, real people want real managers. That’s managers who are better leaders.
But what do they mean when they say “better leaders”? What’s missing?
@MoyraMackie asks: Do the differences between leadership and management really matter to you?
Let me start by saying that giving advice is not coaching!
How many times in a week do you get asked for advice?
If you’re half-way good at your job, I’m going to guess that the answer is “frequently”. If you’re quick to offer your advice I’m going to be blunt: you’re not helping.
I’m going to argue that most people who ask for advice are really asking for clarity and for the confidence to make a decision.
And by clarity, I don’t mean clarity about knowing what you think or what you think should happen. I mean clarity in the asker’s own mind.
Advice doesn’t give clarity or the confidence to act
These things are not in our power to bestow on others – they come from within. Clarity and confidence come when new insights emerge, motivating the asker to act from their own conviction.
“Coaching and counselling are really for losers”, said a forthright friend of mine the other day.
“I know it’s what you do but I don’t believe in this coaching stuff. If people were just a bit more resilient… I guess if you’re a bit of a loser it might help, but otherwise I don’t believe in it.”
And with friends like that you might think…
But I really didn’t take offence. I’ve been hearing echoes of that statement for a long time.
The myth that coaching fixes problems
This idea is still widespread. How else do we explain that two thirds of CEOs understand the value of coaching, yet 90% of them don’t have a coach?
It’s not lack of budget or sign-off power that is holding them back. It’s the idea that they might have a problem that needs to be fixed, or some trait that needs to changed.
As a coach, clients ask me into their business to help them get better at what they do. Whether it’s an individual leader, a team or even a whole company, these clients are always interested in improvement.
Most of the time they’re pretty successful (sometimes extremely successful) but they’re looking for something a little bit extra. Some of them realise that what got them to this point may not get them to where they really want to be.
At the beginning big nouns are bandied about: “leadership”, “engagement”, “collaboration.” I know that big consultancies make big money from trying to grapple with big nouns.
Perhaps foolishly, I start with a few small verbs. Because that literally is where the action is.
There are three verbs – three actions – that guarantee improvement
If you want to change anything significant in your life you need to nail this lie.
Whether it is exercising more, changing the direction of your business or becoming a better leader to your team, most of us need to challenge this most insidious of self-limiting beliefs that what is stopping us is a lack of time. We need to look at our time management.
I’ve written before that I believe effective time management is the very first thing needed to be a true leader – without that skill you just have over-busy, stressed managers.
So when can we tell we’re lying to ourselves?