Often, management and leadership get treated like words, the opposite or, at best, one being a subset of the other. However, what truly set them apart are goals and intentions. There is nothing wrong with being a manager; neither is being a leader superior. What is critical is the ability of a person in the supervisory role to blend the organizational goals with the intentionality of people development. The premise of “everyone is a leader” stemmed from the fact that everyone can lead since leadership is not limited to specific functions or positions. This ideology emanated from a co-active leadership model that allowed one to self-evaluate personal attributes and values to identify the best leadership style suitable for the individual to succeed at helping others achieve set goals. Whether the chosen leadership style is from within, without, the front, the side or rear, its beauty lies in ensuring the leader operates effectively to inspire others to achieve their full potential and contribute to the success of a group, organization, or community. So, what sets managing leaders apart from leading managers?

Managing leaders and leading managers are two different yet related aspects of leadership within an organization. Managing leaders typically involves overseeing individuals in senior or executive positions within an organization. These leaders have significant responsibilities and often lead various teams or departments. Some considerations for managing leaders include:

Support and alignment: This involves ensuring senior leaders align with the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic goals while providing the necessary resources, support, and information to help them make informed decisions.

Empowerment: Trusting and empowering senior leaders to make strategic decisions within their areas of responsibility is highly encouraged while avoiding micromanaging. This type of empowerment allows managing leaders to possess the autonomy to lead their teams effectively.

Feedback and development: Offering regular feedback and coaching to senior leaders encourages professional development and provides opportunities for skill enhancement and growth.

Communication: Maintaining open and transparent communication with senior leaders by regularly updating them on organizational developments and seeking their input and insights.

Conflict resolution: Addressing conflicts and challenges among senior leaders constructively and diplomatically to promote collaboration and teamwork among the leadership team.

Folks in the fold include large corporations’ Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), university presidents, state governors, directors of non-profit organizations, and military heads.

Leading managers, on the other hand, guide and inspire individuals who supervise teams or departments within an organization. These managers are responsible for implementing the strategies and directives set by senior leaders. Here are some considerations for leading managers:

Clear direction: This involves providing managers with clear and concise guidance regarding the organization’s objectives and their roles to achieve them by ensuring they understand the bigger picture.

Coaching and support: Offering coaching and support to help managers improve their leadership skills would encourage them to develop their teams and create a positive working environment.

Performance management: Setting performance expectations and regularly assessing managers’ performance to provide constructive feedback and recognition for their achievements.

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Team development: Emphasizing the importance of building strong and cohesive teams to encourage managers to focus on team dynamics, collaboration, and individual growth.

Problem solving: Equipping managers with problem-solving skills to address team challenges will teach them how to identify issues, analyze root causes, and implement effective solutions.

Communication skills: Helping managers enhance their communication skills within their teams and when interacting with senior leaders and other departments.

Delegation: Teaching managers how to delegate tasks and responsibilities effectively by ensuring they understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team members to assign tasks appropriately.

This category includes team leaders, department managers, project managers, production managers, and school principals.

In summary, managing leaders involves supporting and guiding senior executives, while leading managers focus on empowering and developing those who supervise teams. Both roles require strong leadership skills, effective communication, and a commitment to the organization’s mission and goals. Successful organizations often have a leadership hierarchy that includes managing leaders and leading managers working together to drive success and growth.

Call to action: In the short workplace scenario below, kindly identify the type of leader, the leadership qualities that may be lacking, and the negative impact of these on the organization?

A six-month pregnant teacher got called into the principal’s office for a dress code chat. The conversation goes thus:

Pregnant Teacher: Hello, ma’am. I got a message to see you.

Principal: Yeah, sure. Take a seat. You may be aware of the fact that your body is changing. I am concerned because some of your body parts have become inappropriate for a secondary school teacher.

After a long, uncomfortable pause.

Principal: That’s all