Many people believe that leadership and management are the same thing, and while they are usually the techniques managers employ with their teams or businesses, they are fundamentally different ways of dealing with people. A leader can also be found within a team, event, project, or any other situation, even if they don’t hold a managerial or leadership role, but they can be very valuable additions to any team.

As we learn more about how to get the best out of people, improving their performance and wellbeing at work at the same time, a divide begins to open up between leadership and management. The emphasis has been on improving leadership skills, but to do that, we have to know what those skills are and why they’re important.

We look to answer the question, what is the difference between leadership and management, so you can find the right way to interact with your teams - and know where to improve your knowledge and skills.

Leadership And Management

tiles spelling lead, team and succeed on scrabble board

While leadership is being touted as the future for all managers, there are some who feel traditional management still has a lot to offer. In some situations, or with certain people, that may be the case, but it doesn’t mean we can’t move forward and learn new things to make us, and our teams, more effective.

Good leadership and management is about finding the best ways to get the results you want from those working for you. Each style has pros and cons, but leadership is becoming more popular thanks to its emphasis on supporting and understanding philosophy.

What Is Leadership?

Leadership is the ability to influence and inspire others to carry out the work that needs to be done to reach targets and goals.

Leaders will find the best processes and structures that allow people to flourish, playing to their individual strengths and adapting to evolving situations. The theory behind good leadership is supporting each other, letting people excel in the areas they specialise in rather than being shoehorned into a specific mould.

The vision for the team or project is defined by the leader, rather than following an existing model, but one thing that really sets leadership apart from management is that there can be multiple leaders in a team, all working together and pushing each other forward. This can give rise to a more coherent and engaging environment.

What Is Management?

Management is controlling a set of people, tools, or parameters to accomplish a goal or set of objectives.

This is often done by following a set path or process, outlined by the business or project. This means the manager is sticking to a rigid philosophy or style of working, and everyone in that team must adhere to that vision. It often doesn’t matter if people don’t fit the mould, or if better ideas arise. It keeps things uniform and standard.

This provides structure for those who need it, but it can be limiting when looking for creativity or out of the box thinking. It also becomes easier to recognise success, as everything is measured the same way. The flip side is that more impactful ideas or results aren’t recognised as much as they should be.

What Is Leadership In Management?

In practise, it can be hard to to identify what is leadership in management roles, or where the line should be drawn between the two styles. In a lot of cases, there will be a blending of the two styles, as managers must accommodate the business, its philosophy and culture while ensuring staff are supported, engaged and inspired to perform at their best.

The focus of asking staff to complete tasks, to take ownership of their work with a good support network is seen by many as a better approach than assigning tasks based on company need and expecting results. There’s a better support system in place and employees will feel more valued and respected, which improves their loyalty to the manager and business. Boundaries and responsibilities are important, but the approach to them is different.

How To Improve Leadership Skills

two women looking at a computer screen

With leadership growing in popularity compared to more traditional management techniques, now is the perfect time to learn more about it, and what you can do to improve your leadership skills. From training courses to online resources, there are plenty of ways to learn more about good leadership and how to put these skills into practice.

Not only will you benefit from learning new knowledge and skills, but your team will benefit, too. There will be a better working environment for everyone, with shared goals, an improved support system and a great approach to reaching assigned goals.

Good leadership skills help employees want to turn up to work every day, and that is a big part of the battle in getting the results you want.

Complete A Leadership Training Course

The most surefire way to learn about and improve leadership skills is to complete a leadership training course. The content of these courses are structured around a specific purpose, often relating to a different level of management or improving teams in certain situations, but the general principles can be applied in other areas, too.

The other advantage to a training course is being taught by an expert, someone who understands leadership and has seen results firsthand come from good leadership skills. By learning from someone like this, you can be sure that what you learn has merit.

Understand The People You Lead

Following a set of principles or guides will only take you so far. You need the people you lead to accept this style of management, and to do that you’ll need to understand them. What they believe, what they want to achieve, how they work, and much more, are just some of the things you need to learn. Take the time to get to know the people you work with, not just the roles they are in.

As a leader, you’re to inspire them and encourage them to act. When people feel listened to, valued, and respected, they’re more likely to accept what you’re doing and what’s expected of them.

Set Tangible Goals

post-it notes on a wall

Tangible, realistic goals can help focus a team and direct their efforts towards the right results. Some people may think goals and targets are outdated and restrictive, like other management techniques, but they are important to measure success and efficiency - and this can determine how successful a business is.

Knowing what to achieve in the end will give some structure to a team, but how to get to those goals can change depending on how your leadership skills influence and affect employees. Rather than forcing things on people, you can help them find their way and get the most out of any task.

Admit When You Fail

One of the hardest things for any of us to do is admit when we’re wrong and when we fail. We know we’re not perfect, but we try to do the best we can. Failure is an integral part of this, and accepting it presents an opportunity.

Rather than blaming people for getting things wrong or doing a task differently, we can analyse what happened and find lessons to learn. This lets us improve and avoid making the same mistakes again.

Leaders have to do this too, and more often than everyone else. Show your team that you are learning and lead by example.

What Does Leadership Mean To Your Team?

To be an effective leader, you need to understand what leadership means to your team and to you. Self-reflection is a valuable skill in developing your leadership skills, but you also need to be able to listen to what others are saying and act in the best interests of the team, rather than yourself or a specific individual.

As a leader, you’re not there to control people, but push them forward and inspire them to do be, be better. How you do that depends on you, them, and what it is you’re all working towards. Once you understand what leadership means to your team, you can be a more effective leader that gets results.

Learn How To Improve Leadership Skills To Benefit Your Team

Leading a team can be much more beneficial than managing a team. This is a completely different approach that can yield impressive results when practised properly, but you should be clear as to what factors lead to leadership or management.

Part of being a good leader is understanding gaps in your own knowledge and taking steps to acquire the skills and information you need to lead effectively. Your team and staff members will thank you for it, and the benefits will be clear to everyone. The right leadership course can help, but so can talking and listening to your team and finding out what they need from you.

If you’d like to know more about leadership, and the courses we offer at The Hub Events, get in touch with a member of our team.

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