Are you a leader or a manager?
Every organization needs both, so don’t be ashamed to answer either way, but it’s important that you know the difference, which one you do best, and then try to arrange your career where you can realize your best potential.
In the book “Reviewing Leadership”, the authors Banks and Ledbetter write, “Leadership and management are two distinct yet related systems of action….They are similar in that each involves influence as a way to move ideas forward, and both involve working with people. Both are also concerned with end results. Yet the overriding functions of leadership and management are distinct. Management is about coping with complexity – it is responsive. Leadership is about coping with change – it too is responsive, but mostly it is proactive. More chaos demands more management, and more change always demands more leadership. In general, the purpose of management is to provide order and consistency to organizations, while the primary function of leadershp is to produce change and movement.”
I think that’s a great summary of the differences between leadership and management for organizations and individuals to consider. Too many times we ask good managers to be great leaders or good leaders to be great managers. The problem with being in the wrong fit is that we tend to burn out more quickly when we are not able to live out our giftedness. In addition, we frustrate the people we are supposed to be leading or managing and ultimately we keep the organization from being the best it can be.
Do a self-evaluation of which you are more skilled at doing. Are you a better leader or a better manager?
Don’t try to be someone you are not.
Through experience I’ve learned I identify with one of these roles more than the other. One description fires me up…the other bums me out. (Can you guess which one fires me up?) One comes more naturally for me and the other I struggle to learn…and attempt to delegate when possible.
What about you? Are you in your proper fit? Do you see the difference?
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(This is a revised post)