Agile Leader

Management versus Leadership—Who’s Leading Your Organization?

February 20, 2023

Even though management and leadership are often used interchangeably, they refer to distinct roles and responsibilities within an Organization.

By definition, management is the process of planning and coordinating resources to achieve specific goals. Managers are responsible for setting objectives, establishing policies and procedures, and monitoring progress to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.

Leaders have the ability to inspire and guide their Teams toward a shared vision or goal. They create a compelling vision for the future, setting an example of excellence and create a culture of collaboration and innovation. Organizations with Leaders who have the ability to lead diverse teams in a VUCA world are required for Organizations to adapt and pivot in a rapidly changing world.

You want your Org to be full of Agile Leaders who can navigate and lead and go beyond traditional management.

Here are some other distinct differences between managers and Leaders.

You’re wasting your time on your lowest performers.

Traditional management says that these are the people who need the most supervision.

Agile Leadership says that if you spend your time with your highest performers, you will get more done, you’ll improve your own job satisfaction, you’ll turn your highest performers into all-stars, and your lowest performers will either rise to the challenge or leave.

Your organizational chart is upside down.

Traditional management encourages the notion of a chain of command where decision-makers control the behaviors of the people underneath.

Agile Leadership says flip your chart upside down starting with customers at the very top. The purpose of management is to help employees take care of the customer.

Your processes are bogging you down.

Traditional management loves processes. They create repeatable, documented processes for absolutely everything.

Agile Leadership believes that there are always better ways to do things and that every Team Member has the capability to improve how we do things. We don’t constrain with processes—we empower.

Performance reviews are worthless.

Traditional management conducts annual performance reviews for each employee.

Agile Leadership believes in a continuous feedback loop. Good work is rewarded in the moment so that it can be repeated and bad work can be caught early enough to be corrected.

Job descriptions limit everyone.

Traditional management wants to have a very specific job description for each team member.

Agile Leadership sees job descriptions as one of the most limiting things you can do to a Team Member. By having a specific job description, you are literally limiting your expectations for that Team Member and possibly hiding their greatest talents.

Vision and mission statements are useless.

Traditional businesses all have a vision and/or a mission statement.

Agile Leadership teaches us that if you actually believe in your mission and live it on a daily basis, it becomes much more authentic and meaningful than any placard on a wall. Live your reputation and it becomes reality for your customers and your Team Members.

You’re holding your employees hostage.

Traditional management believes in time-based employment. Employees work from 9-5 and in exchange receive a paycheck.

Agile Leadership believes the best way to increase productivity is to switch the focus from time to results. You get more done, you utilize people’s preferred time and method of working, and you increase Team Member happiness.

You’re missing great hires by focusing on weaknesses.

Traditional management has this idea that they only hire the best. In order to be the best, potential new hires have to be perfect in every way—perfect outfit, perfect resume, perfect experience, and perfect answers.

Agile Leadership encourages management to focus on a person’s strengths and how they could be useful in your Organization.

Metrics suck.

Traditional management loves data. They put metrics in place to track their metrics tracking. They spend countless hours collecting, reporting, and analyzing the numbers in overinflated systems.

Agile Leadership is focused on what really matters—delivering value. Our greatest measure of success is the happiness of our customers and the productivity of our Team Members.

Click here to learn more about Certified Agile Leadership.


Tanya Twerdowsky

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