Vision vs Delegation

There is a re-occurring thought I often have around what is the difference between Leadership and Management. Over the last 4 years working in different roles I have observed the good and the bad of both.

Identifying a good leader or a good manager isn’t hard. Often the people under them are the clear indication. But what is it exactly that makes them different? I’ve seen managers that can’t lead, leaders who can’t manage, and the rare person, who can not only do both, but can do them both well.

I believe that it all comes down to the difference between vision and delegation.

  • A leader has a vision.
  • A manager has tasks to delegate.
  • A good leader can inspire others to buy into their vision.
  • A good manager can delegate and encourage their staff to do the tasks.
  • A great leader empowers other leaders with their version and let’s them own their own version of it. All the while subtly course correcting it when necessary.
  • A great manager empowers their subordinates to choose how to achieve their delegated tasks. All the while subtly course correcting it when necessary.
  • Leaders know where they are going.
  • Managers identify the tasks and delegate based on the leaders vision.
  • A leader with a vsion will achieve nothing without having a management resource available to make that vision a reality.
  • A manager will achive nothing if they have no direction set by a leader.

If you are trying to be both the leader and manager, then the key is to understand when you have to lead and when you have to manage. When do you need to reiterate your vision to get it fresh in the minds of your people? When do you need to step through the tasks to make sure the plan is solid and your team is focused?