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How Does Leadership Differ From Management?

April 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 189

Put simply, leadership is about doing the right things whereas management is about doing things right. It is the leaders job to set the organisations goals and objectives and managers are there to carry out the necessary planning, organisation, co-ordination and implementations of the strategy and policies. It is from this ethos that the idea of influencing people by virtue of personal attributes and behaviours emerged and that promotion to leadership roles should not be based entirely upon technical abilities. This change was largely created by what was happening in the business world, with the Internet allowing greater visibility of competition and the world economy becoming less and less predictable.

Managers, too, needed to become leaders as well and have to understand the concepts of effective leadership and to practice them successfully within the organisation and with their teams and departments. What this means is that leadership has become a fundamental part of management and that they need to also influence people using their personalities and behaviours.

Levels of leadership

Leading on from above, it is helpful to identify three levels of leadership, which are:

  • Front-line or team leadership - in which one person (the leader) is responsible for creating specific outcomes usually within a given timescale and with given resources through their own actions and those of their immediate followers;
  • Operational leadership - which is to do with day-to-day operations within the organisation and is a major determinant of its culture and climate;
  • Strategic leadership - about 'big picture' issues such as change, vision, translating that vision into purpose, effective communication, and the behaviour of the CEO and senior management team.

Leadership transitions

New leaders face unique challenges as a result of promotion from managers to a leadership role, particularly in the areas of responsibilities, time management and priority setting. This transition phase can induce levels of anxiety as they prepare for the changes. Coaching can help these new-to-be or new leaders cope with this transition by assisting them in looking at things with a new perspective, being aware of internal politics and how their personalities and behaviours may need to change in order for them to adapt to the new position. This support, coupled with training, is critical to the development of leaders through the transition phases.

Leadership development

It goes without saying that people vary in their capacity and capability for a leadership role. What they do have is potential. What is required is for the recruitment and selection process to identify this potential and then to provide the right training and support, such as coaching. There is no substitute, however, for practical experience and this is where careful and thoughtful management development, succession planning and leadership development are so critical. Coaching and mentoring are increasingly being seen as vital in the on-the-job development of talent and performance.

Many organisations now have leadership development programmes that nurture future leaders and help them make the transition to a leadership role in a planned and considered manner. However, the organisation needs to ensure that the quality and delivery of the course suits their needs for there are many courses/training providers that fall short of the required standards. For example, it is appropriate that these courses/programmes includes self-awareness, work-life balance, behaviour and behaviour change, communication styles and personal values and qualities. It is recommended that after choosing a particular programme that organisations should maintain an on-going audit and review to ensure they continue to offer value and relevant content.

Strategic Leadership

It is necessary to say that leaders at the top of organisations set the tone by their own qualities and behaviours. A strategic leader must have the ability to:

  • Have clarity of purpose;
  • Build and maintain meaningful relationships quickly;
  • Be able to identify the priorities;
  • Be able to see the bigger picture and how all the constituent parts fit together;
  • Be able to identify key learnings from past experience;
  • To understand the difference between outcomes and processes;
  • To have an ability to quickly appraise situations and make decisions;
  • Have the ability to inspire others to take action decisively.

Potter and Hooper distinguish seven core strategic leadership competencies:

  1. Direction, vision, mission, strategies and values.
  2. Alignment.
  3. Example and role model issues.
  4. Developing people at all levels.
  5. effective communication.
  6. As change agents.
  7. Action in crisis and ambiguity.

To have all these competencies with one leader would be rare and it is, therefore, increasingly common to find the idea of leadership teams growing in popularity but therein lies another challenge; how can they function as real teams, all pulling in the same direction, casting aside their political allegiances for the good of the whole and working with an organisational agenda rather than their own.

This is where the CEO or Managing Director's leadership qualities come to the fore.

Steve Scott is a leading author who specialises in business and executive coaching. You can try his unique coaching programme, FREE at his business and executive coaching website at or he can also be contacted at

Source: EzineArticles
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