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Understanding When to Manage


Any organization's goals must be managed and led. Managing and leading your team appropriately is the key to success. Today's business is all about leadership. Leadership is responsible for improvement of performance and growth of new leaders. People say that it is better to be a leader than a manager.

The best leaders assume a management role when it makes sense to do so. A business's growth is sustainable when its leaders and managers lead and manage appropriately. Knowing when to manage and when to lead is a key leadership skill.

The purpose of this article is to explain what leadership and management are, how they differ, when to manage versus lead, and what the benefits are.

When to Manage in the Workplace

Leaders and managers must know when to lead versus manage. Often, professionals in authority roles must alternate between both types of supervision. One approach is often more suited to a particular situation than the other. As we discuss in this article, business owners and professionals need to know when to lead and when to manage.

Management Defined

A manager coordinates tasks and projects to achieve a goal. A manager oversees a team, ensures that each person understands what is expected of them, and coordinates efforts to ensure goals are met.

A manager's basic duties include:

  • Goal-setting for individuals and teams

  • Task organization and delegation

  • Inspiring and motivating a team

  • Setting career goals and assisting team members

  • Utilizing key performance metrics to measure task progress

Leadership Defined

A leader motivates and inspires others to work towards a common goal. An effective leader motivates others by communicating effectively what needs to be done and why. Leaders also ensure employees perform the proper duties efficiently and effectively to accomplish a goal.

Leadership qualities include:

  • Inspirational for employees or team members

  • Innovation-focused

  • Comparatively less concerned about interpersonal issues than managers

  • Strong motivational skills

  • A strong ability to communicate

What's the Difference Between Managing and Leading?

People in authority should have leadership and management skills. Leaders and managers often use these skills interchangeably based on the situation and needs of employees or teams. Leadership is different from management, no matter what position of authority you hold.

Here are the key differences between management and leadership:

  • The goal of management is often to accomplish a particular task, whereas the goal of leadership is to achieve a long-term goal.

  • Leaders often achieve results that cannot be measured, while managers often get tangible results.

  • Leading people to innovate is typically the role of management, while managing and controlling outcomes are the roles of management.

  • In management, rules and regulations are strictly adhered to, while leadership often ignores them.

  • Leading focuses on the larger picture while managing on maintaining precise processes.

  • Leadership focuses on coaching team members and employees to help them become better by delegating tasks and clarifying what needs to be done. Managers are concerned with delegating tasks and ensuring their employees complete them.

When to Manage

Knowing when to manage a team is important. The situations shown below are perfect examples of when managing is preferable to leading a team:

An organizational crisis: Employees can become confused and unorganized during times of crisis. Morale can drop among employees, resulting in reduced productivity. A manager's role would be effective here by making timely and deliberate decisions.

Project management: Keeping employees motivated and inspired can be difficult when deadlines are strict. To keep the project on track, managers should ensure that each employee knows when and how to complete their tasks.

Measurable results: In order for management to be effective, it is necessary for people to be able to work on projects that require specific, quantifiable results. Since management is focusing on outcomes that can be readily quantified, meeting measured deliverables and KPIs are usually their responsibility.

Recruiting new employees: When training new employees, management is preferred over leadership. Authoritative figures should provide hands-on experience and monitor progress to new employees instead of communicating trust and motivation.

When to Lead

In the following instances, leading is preferable to managing:

The team is experienced and competent: Oftentimes, employees who have the relevant skills to handle a task well, but don't need a lot of supervision, can benefit more from leadership than from management if they have the relevant insight.

When new techniques are introduced at work: To introduce and implement new practices at work, leadership is essential. When an authoritative figure has good leadership skills, he or she is capable of encouraging and motivating the employees to accept the change and work in order to make it happen in their daily working lives.

Leading creative projects: Working on creative projects is often a good time for a leader to become more creative and innovative because leadership is more concerned with creativity and innovation than management.

Wrap Up!

It is important to note that leadership and management are both important aspects of the workplace. You may at times be required to fulfill both of these roles as a startup entrepreneur or team member in order to grow the company. Don't lose your team's trust by not using them when appropriate.

Try out CEO-ME's operations planning software to boost your management and leadership in more ways then one! Try it out for free.

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