Leadership Not Management: What’s the Difference?

Leadership is about our ability to inspire people so they want to follow, whilst Management is about managing things. 

We all want to be better leaders. Earlier this year, when we were thrown into a state of uncertainty and consequently, panic, it gave us the unique opportunity to step up and prove ourselves as leaders. Along with opportunity comes challenge. One cannot manage this situation effectively, especially as managers we have lost some of our ability to plan ahead. Instead, a role more focused on leadership comes into effect and proves itself the most effective solution to maintain a connected and engaged team.

Leadership is a

  • Choice
  • Behaviour
  • Responsibility

Leadership is not a

  • Title
  • Position
  • Entitlement

A leader must be flexible!  

The static decision-making process of before has lost its power in this global crisis. It doesn’t support a fast-moving and flexible process, where rapid decisions and solutions must be made, impacting many of our team members.  

A pre-determined action plan is no longer a viable solution. Instead, certain behaviours and mindsets must be adopted as this will prevent over reaction, confusion and decision paralysis. When faced with problems and occurrences that are not yet completely understood or familiar, this can cause organisations to relinquish their command and control mentality. By embracing an empowerment mindset, quick and effective decisions can be made in response to short-term obstacles. 

Keeping your teams connected

A connected team is crucial to the overall success of an organisation post-crisis. Taking on a leadership role vs. a management mindset means addressing and acknowledging the personal concerns of each team member. During a widespread crisis like Covid-19, immediate responses turn to the individuals own survival and basic needs. Upholding both aligned organisation values and the teams own personal values; it becomes the leader’s responsibility to be empathetic and vulnerable to their direct reports. Thus, proving the leader’s genuine concern for the mental health and wellbeing of their team.  

Crises present a perfect opportunity for a leader to step up and embody the critical attributes of an inspiring leader. These attributes allow people to truly connect with the leader as a person, as well as connect and engage with the vision. During this time, the most important attributes to portray are trust and vulnerability. 

Why is trust important for leaders? 

Inspiring leaders are highly trustworthy. They build high trust teams because they focus on ensuring there are strong, caring relationships between everyone in the team, and set this as the most important value for the team when role modelling behaviour. 

Demonstrating vulnerability 

Inspiring leaders are completely open and honest in all their communication. They show who they really are. There is no mask or facade. They are very real; they make mistakes and admit their weaknesses. They are never afraid or ashamed to confess their shortfalls or past errors and see it as a strength to ask for help. Great leaders are holistic, they are one person and in all parts of their life experience they demonstrate the same types of behaviours, showing they are authentic and sincere. 

Leaders and teams must unite during the challenges a crisis presents. Keeping your team engaged, informed and showing genuine care for everyone will help to see you through an unpredictable and uncertain time for all. 

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an inspiring leader, we have developed an e-learning course that will teach you actionable steps to help you lead your team.


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