If an organization of any kind is going to function successfully, it needs both leadership and management. While some people use those terms interchangeably, they are, in fact, distinctly different and valuable functions in order to create an environment of productivity and performance.
Leaders, in the simplest terms, are people that other people follow. Think about someone who inspires you to want to participate in a cause, goal or vision. Who do you know that makes you say, “I want to be part of what he or she is doing?” Leaders cast the vision and move things and people forward.
While great leaders may motivate you to be part of something by stirring your desire to participate, they don’t always possess the organizational skills or attention to detail required to make the vision happen. A successful organization needs someone who can provide structure and efficient processes in order to accomplish the goal. Even lofty ideals need to be upheld by someone supervising workers who operate equipment, pay bills, coordinate supplies, help clients or customers and generally make sure the work is accomplished. Managers build teams and processes to ensure things are done right.
Occasionally you may encounter someone with both leadership and management skills, but it is uncommon to excel at both. In my role as a coach I have worked with people in executive positions who were frustrated and uncomfortable with their jobs and some had received negative feedback from their staff and/or superiors. In time, it can become apparent that the talented manager has been placed in a leader role, or vice versa.
One of your strongest allies in helping you make critical career decisions is being aware of your own personality, interests, skills and natural abilities. Are you a “big picture” person with a desire to share