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  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland

Are Your Managing, Leading or Both

Management and leadership are certainly related. The terms are almost interchangeable. It is possible to be good at both, however, it is important to note that they involve a few distinct skills.

Management (n): the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.

Leadership (n): the action of leading a group of people or an organization.

Put another way…

Managers make sure things go right. Leaders show where they are going.

I remember some great managers I had during my career. Every detail was followed up on and taken care of. They did a great job of making sure I knew what I needed to do and when I was expected to finish. Their teams ran like well-oiled machines and performed at record levels.

I also remember a few really good leaders. They stirred me to action by what they said and how they said it. They fostered a deep belief in the possibility of a cause or goal. The details were not an issue. In fact, they couldn’t care less how we got there, only that we arrived.

Both the great managers and the great leaders helped me in different ways. What they had in common was their focus on what was needed at that moment to move the team forward.

Great managers always: • Improve the process at every chance. They are never satisfied with the way things are. • Assure everyone knows his or her role. They motivate every person to do his or her best work. • Work effectively, always keeping the end result in mind. They never lose sight of the goal.

Great leaders always: • Give credit when things are good and take responsibility when things are bad. If you can’t do both, then be a follower. • Surround themselves with the potential for greatness. If you haven’t, find a new crowd. • Believe unequivocally in the idea and mission at hand. If you don’t, find a new mission.

Here is the best news: both skills can be developed and improved. Yes, there are some people who are born leaders and managers; but only some. The rest of us have to work at it and can learn techniques to be both.

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