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Key Differences Between Managing and Leading

June 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 201

During my years as a product manager and team leader I have learned the difference between managing my resources and leading a team. I manage physical resources, things that are applied to a standard set of steps to consistently accomplish a set of tasks. Leading is used to entice a group of specialist who are working together to solve a problem or deliver new value to a customer. Managing resources is very structured and "clean"; leading is a fluid effort and usually challenging.

Managing is exerting control over things needed to accomplish a task. It begins by confirm the specific steps needed to complete a task. A manager then ensures the equipment is available and the human operators have been scheduled. When you are building a widget the parts must be pulled from stock and delivered to the production area. The manager confirms the tools and people are available in the area to assemble the product. You must ensure that the person assigned has the proper training to accomplish the required tasks but are not normally responsible to train them. As the production manager you oversee all the steps, supporting tools including human operators and monitor the flow for product delivery. You have managed the production steps that build something.

Leading is more the art of influencing a group of people by setting their direction and motivating them to find a solution to a challenge. You usually cannot tell them how to perform the tasks involved since no one has done anything quite like this. As leaders we describe an outcome and any specific measurements that will signal success. We ensure the team has the skills and knowledge to find a solution to the problem presented. We don't necessarily know what needs done nor how to do it, that's the team's job. You then keep the team focused on their efforts and deflect outside interruptions that slow them down. You must react quickly to any barriers that arise and quickly remove them so the team succeeds.

Working with people and teams is a delicate balance of management and leadership skills. We manage when we pick the right resources, connect them in the right way and achieve consistent results. When the job requires some unknown solution we can be most effective describing the result we want and empower the team to find a solution. I love to watch teams working their operational magic and meeting their production goals and marvel at the creativity unleashed by solid leadership to find that unique solution for a new problem. Don't be afraid to pick your best method for success.

Don is applying his 30+ years of corporate team leadership and development to help individuals face their life challenges, take the steps necessary to overcome them and establish a life of learning and growth. Don works directly with individuals to help them establish clear goals and create plans to address gaps between their present life position and their desired future. He also offers ongoing coaching support to help with the implementation of their plans. Visit his website at to learn more and please sign up for my newletter or blogs here -

Source: EzineArticles
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