A common debate: Are you a manager or a leader? The internet is loaded with articles that discuss the differences between management and leadership, mainly in favor of leader personality. I agree that leaders are change agents and they create a vision and inspire their people to turn that vision into reality. But I also think that management vs. leadership is not a competition—they are both important.
Great leaders aren’t necessarily great managers. And great managers aren’t necessarily great leaders.
The Birkman view of the difference between management and leadership is centered on structure, process and control: “Management is preparing our team to handle the issues we have in front of us today. Leadership is preparing them to tackle the issues we don’t know about yet.” As managing and leading differ in many aspects, they require different focus, skills, actions and relationships.
Management and leadership are equally important and beneficial in their own ways.
What is the ideal way to do both of these things? According to the Birkman view, you should understand which situations require management and which situations require leadership. Instead of focusing on either being a leader or being a manager, you should focus on what actions are required of you based on the context of the situation.
Birkman recommends asking yourself these questions to know if you should approach a situation using management behaviors or leadership behaviors:
- Who are you working with in this situation?
- Is this a people problem or a task problem?
- Is this a present problem or a future problem?
- Are you expected to exhibit leadership skills at your level or role within the organization?
What do you think? Can you utilize the situational qualities of a manager and a leader?