Written by Tobias Henz
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."
This statement by Peter Drucker, considered by some as "the founder of modern management", is at odds with how we use the terms “management” and leadership” in our everyday language: Instead of stressing the differences, we tend to use the two terms interchangeably. There is a good reason for that: often, leaders also manage. More importantly, I firmly believe that, in order to be a good and effective manager, you also need considerable leadership qualities. However, as Drucker’s statement suggests, there are important differences.
How exactly do the roles of leaders and managers differ in practice? As Robyn Benincasa writes in a piece for Fast Company, “The best managers consistently allow different leaders to emerge and inspire their teammates (and themselves!) to the next level.”
This concept of leadership is quite dynamic - and far from the traditional view of a leader being the person on top of a hierarchy. Feel invited to also check out this recent Tidbit on how the concept of “atop a hierarchy” may be replaces with “in the center of a circle”. Imagine you are part of such a dynamic leadership environment. A crucial realization is that while there usually is one manager, there might very well be multiple leaders! Having said that, it is of paramount importance that you do not only need to become aware of what exactly it is that you can contribute to push yourself and others forward - it is equally important that you and everybody else involved understand the dynamics of your working group and become aware of the potentially rapidly changing roles in the team. This ensures that you are not in danger of pulling the wagon in different directions. Rather, each team member can contribute different parts of the force that is pushing your work forward.
Moreover, not only is it completely alright to be yourself - it is essential that you find your personal style of leadership, and try make sure to be your best self, understanding where and how you can contribute best in any given situation. This concept is dubbed “authentic leadership”, and you can read a bit more about it in this recent Tidbit.
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