I’m often asked to define the differences between leadership and management. And each time I’m forced to define them, I get challenged. In this article, I’m going to pull out the qualities of each and discuss how to develop each of them. Both are so important to an organization and both require care and consideration when selecting the person for the role. Peter Drucker has been quoted as saying “Management is doing things right; le adership is doing the right things. insight management

Let’s look first at management.

Oftentimes, we discuss management in terms of the ability to get work done through others. However, as organizations have become flatter, we have many managers who manage process and programs vs. people. Are they any less of a manager? In fact, most compensation and promotion programs move people through at least the title of manager on their way to director so the true scope of the work that the manager is responsible for has changed.

Who makes a good manager? If I had the silver bullet answer to this question, I would be wealthy beyond imagination. However, we can examine what seems to make some managers successful and others not so successful. Most managers have one common trait–that is the ability to manage both tasks and process. That is why there are so many people out there with the word “manager” in their job title. However, many of them don’t manage people. Think about it, there are thousands of project managers out there with no direct reports. They manage the process but not the people. They have influence but not direct responsibility.

In searching for good managers, it is incumbent on the organization to think first about the position. Does the incumbent manage task and process or do they manage task, process, and people? The two are very different. It is hard to find someone who does all three really well. The person who manages task and process if oftentimes a thinker who enjoys the analytical part of the job more than the people part of the job. They are more comfortable with spreadsheets, workflow charts, and process metrics than they are with people development and people challenges. As you think about the position, it is critical to think about the two very different profiles. Generally we get two out of three and really, with today’s talent shortage, having two out of three key qualities isn’t bad at all. We can generally compensate for or develop the missing third.

As with any key role, it is critical to line up organizational culture fit, skill fit, and personality traits. Time and time again, we’ve proven that when these three are in alignment, we get better business results (think profit) and happier employees.