Controlling vs. Motivating

Welcome to the third and final post of our Manager vs. Leader series. If you missed any of the previous posts, click here to read them now!

Managers ensure plan accomplishment by controlling and problem solving—monitoring results against the plan by means of reports and meetings to identify deviations from the plan, and creating actions to solve the perceived problems. For quality control and predictability, adherence to the plan becomes the goal and individuals are rewarded for doing what is expected by the plan.

But a leader moves a vision forward by motivating and inspiring—keeping people moving in the right direction, despite major obstacles to change, by appealing to basic but often untapped human needs, values and emotions. A leader achieves this condition when they highlight the values of the audience they are addressing; regularly involves people in deciding how to achieve the organization’s vision; support employees’ efforts to realize the vision by providing feedback and coaching; and recognizing and rewarding success. Together these methods make the work important to the employee; the employee feels in control; the employee can grow professionally and they feel a sense of accomplishment. All of these are essential human needs that when fulfilled lead to greater performance.

Does your project need more consistency and predictability or does your project need more innovation and creativity? Which of these do your activities promote among the team members?

 Usually it is assumed that good managers are good leaders. Or good leaders are good managers.

After reading about all three skill sets, do you think this is true? By applying these ideas to your own team or project, you can see why being both can be difficult, but that a mix of both skill sets is necessary. These skills can be learned and improved. Consider creating a vision around your management and leadership balance and working out a plan to get you there.