Management or Leadership: What’s More Important
In today’s world, business is more complex than ever before. Not only are companies growing rapidly in size and numbers, but their very nature has evolved far beyond the organizations of old, most of which operated primarily at the local level. These days, both employees and clients might be positioned anywhere in the world, highlighting a very important question: is it management or leadership which is ultimately the most important influence in a typical workplace
Before answering that question, it is important to define each term, as they are often used in a fluid manner. That is to say, managers are many times expected to provide leadership, and leaders are expected to manage subordinate employees. However, just because the two responsibilities can overlap does not mean that they are necessarily one in the same.
Managing is Maintaining
By nature, any successful company is doing one of two things: maintaining or growing. The function of a manager is effectively to maintain, or in other words, to preserve the integrity and productivity of a person, a team, a department or a system. This can be achieved through various processes, from business planning, to recruiting to analyzing performance and beyond. It is generally the duty of a manager to prevent or resolve any potential hindrances so that operations can continue as normal.
Contrast these ideas with the concept of leadership: higher-level thinking, designed to propel people and processes forward to bigger and better things. While managers can be leaders and vice-versa, leadership truly is the sense and desire to improve, to grow and to take new paths in the interest of greater success. If managing is akin to maintenance, then leading is like creating. However, the question still remains: at the end of the day, is management or leadership more valuable to an organization
The Balancing Act
There’s an old saying that success is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration. While this ratio may or may not be true for every industry, the fact is that inspiration alone will not allow you to achieve your goals. In debating whether management or leadership is more important in the workplace, one should first step back and consider that one can’t exist without the other.
Without the vision and drive which originate from true leaders, there would be no people or processes to manage. It is the inspired motivation inherent in leadership-minded individuals which gives rise to new companies, to the platforms upon which measured, consistent effort can begin to grow and flourish. Management is that effort, and without it, labor would effectively be scattered and ineffectual. If vision without a plan is little more than a dream, a plan without vision is like digging in the dark. When placed on the scale, it’s tough to imagine management or leadership tipping the balances noticeably to one side or the other.
Another important consideration in this discussion is exactly who is providing the management or leadership in question. In other words, it’s natural to assume that executive-level contributors are going to be expected to lead more than to manage. A basic statistical analysis by the American Society for Quality estimates that executives should typically strive for a 90 percent leadership, 10 percent management balance. Middle managers should lean more toward a 70/30 split with a 30/70 ratio for all other workers, who often make up the majority of a workforce.
In this regard, it’s clear that management is not only instrumental, but it is actually utilized more often by a larger segment of individuals in an average company. With that said, the introduction of new ideasïleadershipïis something that doesn’t always take place with the same frequency or volume, but it is crucial in order to avoid risks and capitalize on trends for greater profitability. The alternative is a business which operates almost on an autonomous level, with less regard for outside influences, which can be a very risky prospect indeed.
With such variance in the types of profitable businesses existing today, it’s nearly impossible to state that leadership or management is truly the more important factor for success. What is clear is that any good organization needs a healthy amount of each, and what might be most important is ensuring that the right balance exists in the right places. In other words, your highest-level contributors should look to remain focused on agility and innovation, entrusting maintenance to those in the best position for those types of functions.
As you continue to develop and refine your business planning strategies, be sure to utilize the many other helpful resources available here at Mighty Recruiter.