Leadership vs. Management

chess pieces with only king standing

What you value determines your leadership style

As a leader in your workplace, you’ll tend to err toward either a traditional managerial style, or a more team-oriented leadership style.

Which one sounds more like you?

Maybe it’s easier to ask: if you had to value one over the other, would you choose efficiency, or effectiveness?

Obviously both efficiency and efficacy matter

So is it ultimately better to be efficient or effective, as a leader?

I mean, I made you pick one, so it must matter — right?

This is the real question we’re trying to answer when we compare the goals and results of leaders versus those of managers.

I recently read “The 21 Immutable Laws of Leadership” this year, along with peers from our C12 Group. One of the laws discussed in the book is the Law of EF Hutton:

“When a real leader speaks, people listen”


I don’t know about you, but that particular test of leadership brings to mind every time in the past decade that I’ve felt frustrated and tuned out by the people I aim to lead.

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can relate!

A top-down, top-of-my-lungs, managerial style of leadership (efficient as it may be) has never been terribly effective in my home.

Eventually the little people will listen, but is it because I was a true leader, or only because I have the title of leader, propped up by volume and ample threats?

Are you really a leader, or do you just have the nametag?

In the workplace, anyone can take on the title “leader,” but in truth we have culturally valued the role of predictable, efficient management over that of visionary leadership.

Phrases like, “she runs a tight ship,” and “he’s very pragmatic” are generally compliments.

But the efficient focus of a managerial leadership style is far from the adaptive, interconnected ideal of a true leader.

At the end of the day, a true leader will have the ears, heart, soul, and shared vision of their team, while the manager is left with only volume and maybe a few threats.

The three fundamental tasks of a leader

Being an efficient manager is fairly straightforward: You use maps, methodologies (not saying these are always bad), and past experience to create stable and predictable results.

But an effective leader has a whole different set of tasks, and I think that’s where a lot of us get lost. Without predictability and conventional methods, we feel like we’re aimless.

The good news is strong leadership is far from aimless.

The three fundamental tasks of a true leader are:

  1. To develop and communicate your vision and your strategic plan. I found these tips to be helpful for finding ways to make your vision “stick” with your team.
  2. To create an environment of initiative in which the members of the team can see what needs to be done and proceed to do it well.
  3. To create trust among the team, and among the clients you serve. This article has some good advice for fostering trust in the workplace.

The results of effective leadership

No one would say efficiency is bad in the workplace, but the results of valuing effectiveness over efficiency are pretty exciting.

  • Organizational resilience (more on that here)
  • Team-wide flexibility
  • Heck, a team — rather than a disconnected group of co-workers
  • A culture of proactivity, rather than reactivity
  • A clear vision that everyone on the team shares

This is the recipe for an organization that will survive in the ever-changing world we’re all trying to navigate.

As technology, competition, and culture all shift daily, it’s time to rethink our approach to leadership.

Are we after predictability and an efficient structure, or a resilient, connected, living organization that runs on a clear vision and a strong team?

Lead on. We’ll help you communicate your vision to the world.

We would love to help you build a plan based on your organization’s needs and vision.

Call us at (915) 585-1919 or fill out the online form to schedule a free 2-hour session with our marketing experts.