The starchy plant tuber is considered one of the most important food crops. The humble vegetable grows underground and is enjoyed on its own, or as the main ingredient in many dishes. The correct spelling and pronunciation of the vegetable have fascinated audiences.
Leadership roots extend from the underbelly of the organisation. Its effects are seen and felt in the market, much like the green leaves atop the soil that signal harvesting. The correct definition and application of ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ have also fascinated audiences.
More than just words, leadership and management are tools for growing and harvesting the success of teams and their organisations. Steve Jobs defined management as the persuasion of people; to get them to do things they do not want to do. But, that “leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could” (Manage things lead people, 2016).
Things need management, people need leadership
Just like the distinction between the plant and its roots is important, the difference between leading and managing impacts efficiency and effectiveness. Leaders inspire subscription to the organisation’s vision by setting an example. They also need to manage, which involves planning, organising, controlling, and leading.
Leading is the ‘why’ and managing is the ‘how’. Business processes and practices and the people depend on the answers to both critical questions.
Oxford Languages defines management as “the process of dealing with or controlling things or people”. Leadership is here defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organisation”.
There is a notable overlap between the behaviours of leaders and managers. When deciding on the best person for the role, do we dig deep, to determine the best skill set for the job? Do we overvalue the prototypical leader, at the expense of the manager?
Leaders are expected to apply communication, motivation, delegation, and creativity skills. We want leaders who take responsibility and give feedback while remaining trustworthy. We also enjoy flexible leaders who harness our commitment and make us adopt a sense of loyalty to the organisation.
We expect managers to have interpersonal skills too, such as communication, motivation, delegation, and mentoring. Managers are tasked with planning and strategic thinking activities because we turn to managers to solve problems.
From the same soil
Leaders set the vision that managers follow and shape the culture that managers endorse. They formulate ideas for managers to execute. Leaders inspire their people, while managers drive people’s success. Leaders must look in the future, and managers work in the present. As a potato completes the meal, the symbiosis between the leadership and management sustains the organisation.
To learn more about becoming an effective leader, look at our course bundle Leading in a VUCA World which will sharpen your leadership skills!
Manage things lead people. (2016, August 16). Retrieved May 28, 2021, from Bolt Group: https://boltgroup.com/manage-things-lead-people/