Leading or Managing: What's the Difference?

The contemporary world of business has grown increasingly competitive due to factors such as globalization and the rise of technology. As such, many savvy managers are looking for techniques they can deploy to keep their businesses as competitive as possible. One strategy that managers can use to make this happen is focusing on leading as opposed to managing their teams. This approach can optimize productivity, which in turn can optimize the business’s profitability and social power. Read on to learn more about the differences between managing and leading as well as how to focus more on the latter:
Leading versus managing
Business experts note that a distinguishing factor of leaders is that they focus on strategy and vision. This approach enables them to guide their teams effectively while simultaneously removing obstacles that might preclude them from completing tasks quickly and correctly. For this reason, the work of leaders might be thought of as similar to that of a sports coach. On the other hand, people who work as managers typically focus more on the execution of specific projects and processes that will keep the business moving forward.
The importance of leadership
Leadership is important for multiple reasons, one of which is that the work completed by leaders ensures that employees have the tools, knowledge, and other resources necessary for them to complete their assignments. Leaders also play an integral role in the employee development process by helping staff members cultivate and optimize their strengths for the purpose of operating effectively within the company. This means that leaders help employees operate with greater confidence and competence, which in turn can make the business more productive.
Cultivating leadership skills
Effective leadership is about spending less time with daily operations processes so that you can focus on setting clear strategies and cultivating a meaningful vision. Know that the vision outlines the “what” and “why” of the company, and you construct it with the end goal of allowing your team to decide how to implement and optimize strategies that will lead to the realization of the vision. If you’re accustomed to micromanagement or reactive management, don’t worry. Below you’ll find some strategies you can implement to begin operating as a leader:
1. Establish core values
One of the best ways to focus on leadership is by establishing core values and then following them. Note that while 80% of Fortune 100 businesses reference their core values in public, the words oftentimes have little to no meaning given that the company doesn’t really embody or operate according to these beliefs. The real magic of core values transpires when they are actualized through the staff’s daily work life. When the values directly impact the autonomous decision-making processes of employees, you can be confident that your staff members will think and act in a manner that reflects and advances the business’s true cause.
An example of a core value that a leader might want employees to internalize is “embrace relationships.” This mode of thinking involves placing primacy on long-term outcomes rather than short-term profits when financial decisions are made. With this principle in mind, employees are allowed to make concessions for partners without asking the leader or manager first.
One strategy that can prove immensely successful when you’re developing your company’s core values is including the team in their creation. This technique fosters a culture of inclusivity while enabling your employees to feel more empowered and connected.
2. Place primacy on your professional development
Another technique you can implement to optimize your efficacy as a leader is placing primacy on your professional development. This technique will help you identify strengths and eliminate weaknesses that may be precluding you from empowering your employees. With this idea in mind, make sure that you take the time to join national and local organizations. Also be sure to regularly attend conferences so you can hear from leaders who have become successful in their field. Look for organizations and groups that will support your goal of developing leadership strategies while simultaneously challenging you to step out of your box and really grow in a manner that helps you think and act in more creative, communal ways.
3. Don’t try to do everything
Effective leadership is all about delegating responsibilities rather than trying to get everything done yourself. As such, it’s a good idea to determine what you can accomplish on your own and then assign the other tasks to staff members who possess the knowledge and experience necessary to complete the work quickly and correctly.
Don’t delay. Start leading today
If you’re serious about growing personally and professionally while empowering others to do the same, note that cultivating leadership skills can help you realize the goal. Use some or all of the techniques outlined above so you can start making positive changes that will optimize your company’s productivity and profitability soon!