Leading vs Managing

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Working with people as a superior, can be done in many ways and the decision to choose which one, can depend on the vision or what is needed. The two classic terms which gets referred to is leading and managing. The two methods is seen as different ways of working, leading is represented as the one standing in the front and leading his people. Managing is different as the superior is seen as the one commanding from the back and giving instructions. The two methods are often used simultaneously in companies to accomplish the visions set. The two methods are widely accepted as different, and people is acquired depending on which skill set they bring to a project. The skillset of leaders is inspiration, honesty, integrity, transparency, and communication, which all needed for people to follow and feel valuable. A manager is often described as focused, rule-bound, ability of being direct and being able to execute on a vision. Project managers is often leading people or working with people, knowing which method of managing is needed is a must. Project managers need to be fluent in the two styles of working with people, as their work is often very broad and includes many different projects and programs. Knowing which style to use is a must as up to 70% of employee’s motivation and productivity is influenced by the different style used as noted by Smarp[1]. The managing style of leadership often has a bad reputation within the working industry, as it often doesn’t work with the employee, and they often feel voiceless. Managers is still a thing and needed for businesses as they get the job done. The leader takes his coworkers/employees voices into concern and work with them, which often leads to higher satisfaction within the work environment.


Companies in many years has defaulted to this style of handling people and resources. This is due to the industry being very labor heavy and not having the technology to automate things. The managers are great at these things as their main tasks are to execute, follow the vision and work in the present with what they have. Managers are often hired when a lot of tasks need to be executed precisely with limited resources. The shine of managers comes from making sure things get done correctly and on time[1]. The managers often comes across as difficult to work with as a worker. Their focus is on the vision and thereby lack transparency. Managers often don't communicate with their employees and that often makes the employees feel voiceless and out of touch with the vision and company[1]. The managers often don't realize this as they are confidence that they make the voices of the employees heard.


The trend of leaders has expanded a lot, as the focus on employees has risen. Great leaders are known for their inspiration and influence, very contrary to the managers which is selected upon only their skills.


Mental health and overall happiness has become a much bigger necessity for companies to value. Most companies nowadays don't just sell products, they sell a lifestyle or a story with the product. Marketing and atmosphere is a much more important part of consumers thoughts.[2] When a customer walks into a shop they expect happy employees and to know that the they feel motivated and joy to go to work. Companies can very quickly get backlash if the employees don't feel like the company motivates or makes them happy to stay there. On the other hand if a companies employees don't feel like they are being used correctly or working on the wrong task, they might get unhappy as well. For companies to get the most out of their employees it is important to understand the types and how to support such employees. Categorizing people is often very difficult, but understanding your workers and their needs is essential for a company to run successfully. Belbin's team roles is a great tool for understanding the type of workers a company has[3]. Figuring out a team and maybe even designing a team around key aspects of job can be very beneficial in the long term. [4] A team having a singular leader for a group of people is more beneficial than having multiple or no leaders at all. Thus mixing both a manager and a leader for the employees does not make a great result.

Belbin Test

Industry needs

Companies today needs to adapt to survive, which often leads to change in vision and different styles of resource handling is needed. Analyzing a company is often a fast way to check if management or leadership is in use. The more traditional way of handling resources is managing, which goes very far back. The companies used their people as resources with very little engagement, as the workers had very single tasks as "pull that lever" or "hand peel fruits". In todays society those tasks are often automated and the need for people to do labor is more rare, but is still needed for specific and difficult processes. Managing was great back then as the workers was seen as labor/resources and the managers had to figure out how to use them efficiently. The contrast to that today is leadership which has a completely different sound and meaning to workers. Leaders are the ones leading the pack and setting a good example, this includes taking a big workload themselves and showing the rest how to do things effectively. The leaders has become a more popular way of handling resources as the world is moving more away from labor and more into a effective focused world. Managers used every drop resource to get the vision set complete, leaders use their resources more effectively and focus on how to get to the goal is more in focus. Managers focus is not on how the employees feel about the work but instead on accomplishing the vision set. This way if a managers is inserted into an area where customer interaction is key and the satisfaction of the employees is important to their willingness to interact with customers, the result might go down as the employees don't feel like one force working together. Inserting a leader in this area, should make the employees willingness to satisfy the customers much better and give a better experience to the customer. The same problem will arise if a leader is put into a managers role. Managers are great at utilizing resources, which leaders might be aswell, but not in the same sense. Having a leader in a production facility where tasks are easy and time is minimal, there won't be time to motivate the employees or lead the pack. These facilities and situations change a lot which is the reason both roles are still in use today.

I do realize it's not long enough, please just review what is already written :)


http://wiki.doing-projects.org/index.php/Leading_vs_managing [1] [5] [2] [3] [4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 https://blog.smarp.com/leadership-vs-management [Accessed on 19.3.2022]
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ball, B. (2008). Marketing for the 21st Century. Marketing for the 21st Century, 1–3. http://dechert-hampe.com/images/stories/Marketing_for_the_21st_Century.pdf
  3. 3.0 3.1 BELBIN Associates. The Nine Belbin Team Roles. Belbin.Com. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.belbin.com/about/belbin-team-roles
  4. 4.0 4.1 Henry, S. M., & Todd Stevens, K. (1999). Using Belbin’s leadership role to improve team effectiveness: An empirical investigation. Journal of Systems and Software, 44(3), 241–250. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0164-1212(98)10060-2
  5. Leadership vs. management, Weathersby, George B.Management Review; New York Vol. 88, Iss. 3, (Mar 1999): 5
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