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What is the difference between management and leadership?

As a coach and mentor to CEOs, I get asked this question a lot: What is the difference between management and leadership?

The short answer is that management is about process and leadership is about progress. A leader considers where the company should be headed and what 'big picture' should be achieved. A manager works out how to get there - what processes need to be put into place to achieve the goal.

Management gives an organisation stability and order, and leadership gives it improvement and growth. In order to move your organisation forward, you need to practice both skills together.

The longer answer is that management is about implementing systems, standards, processes, policies and controls to ensure that the hands-on work is achieved efficiently. It is about ensuring that the structure is right, so that that the correct resources are available at the right time and place. Managers typically also manage budgets, equipment, resources and time.

Leadership is about people, relationships and outcomes. Rather than focusing on efficiency like managers, leaders are focused on effectiveness. Leaders look for trends, and they try to work out why things are the way they are. Leaders want to challenge the status quo and improve things rather than let things stay exactly as they are. Leadership is about getting the best out of people while management is about getting the best out of process.

As the head of your company or as a 2iC, you will need to be able to apply both leadership and management skills. There is always a management component to any leadership position, and these two skills are heavily intertwined.

The key to being an effective manager and leader is in working out how much of your time should be devoted to management, leadership and hands-on work. The specific breakdown you need will depend on the age of your business, the market's awareness of your business, and so on. But that is a whole other story - so more on that in future blog posts!

To find out more about how to improve your leadership and management skills through joining my CEO coaching group, please click the link or get in contact.

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