Early in my career, I thought that leadership was what the
people at the very top of the organization did and that management was what all
of the people in the middle of the organizational structure did. However, while
this positional view is correct in many organizations, it does not need to be
that way. Management and leadership are both necessary components of a successful
organization of any size. Here’s why.

The differences between leadership and management

The role of a leader in any organization is to set the
direction. A leader is the first to envision a future position for the
organization and first to evangelize that position. Leadership is about finding
a point on the horizon and saying, loudly and firmly, we should go there.

Management focuses on keeping the ship upright and moving in
the direction that it’s headed. It’s not about picking a point on the horizon
and going there. Management is about plotting progress towards the spot on the
horizon.

Tips in your inbox

TechRepublic’s free Strategies that Scale newsletter, delivered each Tuesday, covers topics such as how to structure purchasing, when to outsource, negotiating software licensing or SLAs, and budgeting for growth.

Automatically sign up today!

Great organizations realize that being good at only one of
these two roles is a great feat in itself, but a person who excels at both
leadership and management is very difficult, if not impossible, to find. That’s
why most organizations have a separate chief executive officer and a chief
operations officer. The chief executive officer is the leader of the
organization, responsible for charting a course. The chief operations officer
is the manager responsible for making sure that the ship follows the charted
course. They work together to make the organization as effective as possible.

The formula for success

An organization needs to synthesize a model of the
leadership/management combination if it wants to be truly successful. If you’re
in the position to hire someone, you’ll want to look for complementary skills. If
you’re a natural leader you’ll want to hire someone with strong management
skills. Similarly, if you’re great at managing things you’ll want to make sure
that you include leaders in the organization so that you have a source for the
leadership you’ll need. However, hiring these skills is a luxury that few
managers can afford. Instead, consider how to identify and encourage these
skills in the people you already have working with you.

Identifying a leader

Finding a good leader as a subordinate — or even as a peer,
if the structure of the organization allows — is a difficult challenge. We
create managers in our business world. Each day we beat into the unsuspecting
workers the need to manage and control. In short, we repeatedly demonstrate
what management is and why it’s important. Leadership often requires charting
into uncharted territory. In other words, leaders must take risks. In western
business, we don’t train people to take risks very well.

Leaders are often the impassioned people who will yell and
kick and scream — something that managers find detestable. When seeking out the
leader that you need to support your ability to manage, look for the person most
challenging to control. That person has potential as a leader.

You may also be able to identify a leader in your midst by
finding someone who always has an idea of how things can be done differently
than the status quo. People who have the courage to challenge how things have
been done have the raw materials to be come a leader.

Identifying a manager

If you’re looking for a manager, the ideal candidate to tap
is one who likes routine,This
person arrives at the same time each day and leaves at the same time. People
who are regimented in what they do are generally great at management because
they’re good at executing the same control processes day in and day out.

You may also find a manager candidate in the person who is
the most organized. The person doesn’t have to be obsessed with being neat;
however, there always seems to be organization to what they’re doing. They seek
to organize, classify, and create structure for everything they do.

Engaging a counterpart

In most cases, you’ll want to try on your counterpart for
size before announcing to them what you’re doing. You’ll want to start by
asking your counterpart candidate questions and making requests which lead them
into filling the role without exposing the grand vision. For your budding
leader candidate, simple open-ended questions like “What do you think we should
do about this opportunity?” can lead to a wealth of information. The manager
may be able to respond to “Will you keep track of the action items for this
series of meetings?” with the kind of support that you need.

Once you’re comfortable with your decision and the
counterpart that you’ve chosen, it’s time to let them in on the grand plan–after
all you don’t want her to leave after you’ve gotten to depend on her for
something important. You’ll want to explain that she’s an important part of
leading and managing your department. This may mean exposing to her your
limitations but it’s likely necessary to allow her to
understand what you’re saying.

Respecting your counterpart

Chances are that if you’ve followed the above process you’ve
found someone within your organization to be your counterpart. That has in it
an inherent challenge. As humans we tend to value, respect, and understand the
value of the things we’re good at. A leader will recognize good leadership and
a manager will recognize good management. However, in order to keep the balance
it will be important to learn to respect the attributes that your counterpart
brings. On the surface, this seems easy but it may be the most difficult part
of incorporating both leadership and management in your organization. If you’re
a leader, you’ll be tempted to plow ahead without project review meetings,
milestones, and action item reviews. But these are the very things that a
manager needs to manage. Similarly, as a manager you may not understand
half-day meetings to discuss strategy.

Fight your natural tendencies and find a way to respect your
counterpart and what he or she is doing to make you successful.