Management versus leadership is a topic that keeps popping up for me. I hear it often. We need to conduct a Leadership Development program. It sometimes feels like the Brady Bunch. Instead of Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, it’s leadership, leadership, leadership. But being the professionals we are, we conduct our interviews and needs analysis and what do we find? They lack basic management skills!
So what is the difference?
In the Everything DiSC© world, the distinction is Leadership is a one-to-one relationship while management is a one to many relationships. Others have defined it as a leader is the visionary. They set the direction and rally everyone to move in that direction. Management, on the other hand, is the ability to implement that vision successfully. In other words the operational and tactical portion of the vision.
Why is the distinction important?
It seems that we use the words interchangeably and we shouldn’t. They are not the same. They have different meanings. Managers hire, fire, coordinate, plan, execute, budget and more. Leaders create a vision, influence others to believe in that vision and work towards reaching that vision. Think of it this way; one is high level while one is ground level.
While we call management training, leadership training, we have been missing the mark. Yes, the material we have been training is necessary, it doesn’t always hit the mark or what’s needed. Of course, some of the skills translate between the two, but I am seeing more and more managers who don’t know how to manage.
What skills are needed?
While the skills needed are many, two of the biggest skill gaps I often see, are; critical thinking skills and lack of initiative. There are many other skills managers need, however, these two top the list.
It could be an issue of not knowing, fear, insecurity or one of a hundred different reasons but these skills need to should be addressed. When should a manager take action on their own and when should they move an issue up. All of this could be that the manager simply needs permission to do these things.
In addition to the two gaps raised above, another ten essential skills managers need to be successful are:
- Time management
- Providing feedback; both positive and negative
- Coaching skills
- Crucial conversations
- How to create and implement processes that will make their teams more efficient
- Building a business case with data
- How to onboard new employees
- How to interact with their staffs on a day to day basis,
- How to know when it’s time to move someone up or out, just to name a few examples
As we have said here often, employees need to be responsible for their training. So what are you doing to enhance, correct or add to these skills for your managers? As a manager, what steps are you taking for yourself? There are many books, videos, online courses or one-on-one coaching that could help. Take an inventory of where your skills are now in these areas. Ask your peers, your employees, and your supervisor. You could also find a 360 survey to assess your current standing. Don’t get overwhelmed by all these skills, simply take the first step to grow your management skills.
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