There are many who take the concepts of ‘leader’ and a ‘manager’ as interchangeable. For many junior positions, these words are synonymous, with Team Leaders and Team Managers essentially performing the same function. The truth is that leadership and management are two separate disciplines, each with their own individual skillsets, aptitudes and most importantly, value to a business environment.
People prefer to be thought of as strong leaders, rather than strong managers. Leadership tends to conjure up images of inspiration, striving forward and taking your followers on a journey of improvement. Being thought of as a manager is far less romantic. However, while people may aspire to lead, they need management skills and experience to be successful.
What does a manager do that a leader doesn’t?
Management skills often relate to the technical aspects of a role. Good managers are experts in their fields, using experience built over time to give them a wide, overarching knowledge of their sector. They can control processes, resources or operations, exemplify best practice and ensure smooth running of the day to day business.
Strong management skills are business critical in many situations. Good managers are able to understand and control all of the resources at their disposal. Familiarity with systems and processes gives a wide, overarching knowledge that allows managers to control outcomes effectively.
It’s important to remember that employees are the most valuable and variable resource available to managers. While leaders aim to inspire employees to do more and grow, managers understand growth must be guided and channelled effectively.
Management isn’t a standalone skillset
Management skills may be seen by some as more technical, resource-focused and numerical, while leadership is softer, more people-focused and human, but neither discipline is entirely separate. Leaders still need the skills that managers possess to get the most out of every resource, whether it’s time, employees or operations. The most effective managers have leadership skills, just as the most effective leaders have management skills.
It is possible to ensure that you have the best of both worlds: the University of York offers 100% online MSc programmes in Leadership and Management. They provide essential skills, such as effective communication and critical approaches to problem solving, which will help you develop a range of approaches to business. As all learning materials are delivered online, you can study when it suits you best, avoiding the need to take a break in your career. You can keep your current role and salary and apply what you learn while you earn. There are also six start dates throughout the year and the ability to pay-per-module, making this an extremely flexible way to gain a prestigious Masters degree from a Russell Group university.