Management vs. Leadership:
Your Authority and Behavior

Management-vs- Leadership-Authority-BehaviorAs a business administrator, authority is one of the clearest distinctions between managers and leaders.

I’ve been writing about this in my recent posts because the definitions of managers and leaders are far from straightforward, and they’re the subject of much debate. Any complex comparison reveals a definite overlap between managers and leaders.

But the distinction is important because employees’ impressions of their administrators can spark or sink both parties’ careers.  And how you oversee, direct and assess completion of staff activities radically affects your direct reports.

As with other aspects of administration, authority can take dramatically different tracks:

  • Managers reserve authority for themselves. Subordinates submit by requirement.
  • Leaders push authority down to the farthest possible level. Followers join in by choice.
  • Managers assure compliance by following an authority map.
  • Leaders develop trust by charting the authority map.
  • Managers enforce the pace.
  • Leaders set the pace.

Here’s an interesting observation from “Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders,”a 2013 Harvard Business Review article written by business executive and philanthropist Vineet Nayar:

  • Managers create circles of power, where people are required to comply politically.
  • Leaders create circles of influence, where people desire to follow.

Management vs. Leadership Behaviors

Everyone notices your behavior, and it takes only a few actions to reveal your character traits. This topic comes up frequently in my coaching practice. People watch your behavior and discern who you are, looking for patterns that indicate what kind of support they’ll receive. I remind my clients that their behavior always signals to employees how difficult or easy their work experience will be.

The following behaviors distinguish managers from leaders:

  • Managers tend to operate under a separate set of rules, with little concern for people’s impressions.
  • Leaders exemplify a noble set of rules that others attempt to emulate.
  • Managers prioritize their personal needs.
  • Leaders prioritize other’ needs.
  • Managers seek notoriety for themselves.
  • Leaders seek notoriety for their people.
  • Managers’ notoriety is based on their technical attributes.
  • Leaders’ notoriety is based on their interpersonal attributes.

So what about you? Is your authority and behavior similar to a manager, or a leader? I’d love to hear from you.  Give me a call, 704-827-4474. Or, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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