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Leading vs. Managing: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart

Leading vs. Managing: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart

March 8, 2022
Lead Teams
Dr. Chris Auger

Today the world moves at the speed of thought. Tomorrow, it will move even faster with artificial intelligence, quantum science, and space exploration. The world pushes people in authority towards chaos and crisis management, so what is needed more than anything is people willing to connect, inspire, and equip others. Taking intentional effort and care to understand what we can do to earn the distinction of being called a leader is key. In essence, there are a few clear differences that can be drawn between leadership and management.

No one grows up seeking to be managed one day. However, most everyone seeks great leaders to follow.

Leading vs. Managing: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart

Pause and think for a moment. Imagine if someone introduced themselves and said, “I am the leader of this organization.” This is akin to someone introducing themselves and saying, “I am humble!” Your response to the latter may be an inner chuckle at the arrogance of the statement while thinking, “I will wait to see if there is evidence of humility.”

The same kind of perspective should be held about leadership. I believe it is a bold statement to call oneself a leader. Leader, leading, leadership all indicate that there is evidence of leading having occurred.

What is a Leader?

To help bring clarity to this perspective, I submit to you the first sentence of a very toothy integrative definition of leadership. The definition comes from a lengthy study of the definition of leadership by Drs. Winston and Patterson from Regent University. 

“A leader is one or more people who selects, equips, trains, and influences one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, and skills and focuses the follower(s) to the organization’s mission and objectives causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organizational mission and objectives.”

There are many opinions about leading versus managing. One perspective is from Matt Gaven who captures a few key differences in his Harvard Business School article. Others would say they are interchangeable. It can also be argued that a good leader is typically a solid manager, but that a good manager does not necessarily equate to being a good leader.

Leading is about people and relationships while managing is about things such as time, resources, money, and schedules to name a few.

Leading vs. Managing: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart

Four Key Characteristics of Leaders

Below are four key points with accompanying thoughts to consider for your leadership journey going forward.

1. Leaders Remember People Are Not Resources

  • Leaders show up to serve and give to their people. 
  • Leaders seek healthy, well-rounded, and appropriate relationships. 
  • Leaders focus on developing their Emotional Intelligence. 
  • Leaders seek to know and be known. 
  • Leaders earn the gift of being called a leader daily.

Culture, leadership, followership, and teamsmanship should all be seen as part of a journey and not as a destination.

2. Leaders Empower

  • Leaders seek and pursue a vision.  
  • Leaders retain responsibility while seeking ways to delegate and give away power with authority. 
  • Leaders look for the healthy tension of allowing people to learn even fail and reaching the desired outcomes, which increases innovation and creativity. 
  • Leaders allow the horses to run guided, yet unencumbered. 
  • Leaders connect, inspire and equip others to do more than they ever thought they could by themselves. 
Leading vs. Managing: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart

3. Leaders Reproduce Themselves

  • Leaders guard the organization by developing others. 
  • Leaders seek to model and teach others, which frees them to look up and see the mountain range beyond the mountain in front of them. 
  • Leaders model how to lead, team, and follow for others. 
  • Leaders model taking time off and a healthy work-life tension for others which gives them permission to do the same.
  • Leaders invite timely feedback.

4. Leaders Journey Intentionally

Develop Your Leadership Skills

On your leadership journey, it is key to remember you lead people and manage things. Leadership is relational, it empowers others, and it reproduces itself. Imagine where your organization could journey to if those in authority shifted from managing to leading in a way that “followers willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy” towards the vision!

How can you develop your leadership skills? What will you work on to earn the moral authority to be called a leader? 

Need help? Reach out to us at WinShape Teams! We offer open-enrollment leader development events called Summits throughout the year at our campus in Mount Berry, Georgia. Click here to learn more and register today.

Leading vs. Managing: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart

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