Close

Sign up to get the latest news and stories on the future of work.

Subscribe Search

Search form

Editor's Note: Over the next few weeks, we'll be rolling out three lessons for developing up-and-coming employees as leaders and managers (here's Lesson One and Lesson Two and Lesson Three). We believe focusing on leadership without considering management is a missed opportunity—read on to learn why, and check back here for our updated playbook, developed in partnership with Cornerstone Content Studios. 

Talk to an experienced HR or L&D professional and they'll tell you: the words "leadership" and "management" are not synonymous. Yes, they're related, but they each refer to different sets of skills.

To many in the industry, leaders are what managers aspire to be. Leaders are creators. Leaders inspire others' work with their motivational skills. They're innovators and critical thinkers. Meanwhile, managers are productivity machines. Managers are bean-counters. They organize plans, delegate work and track progress. The conventional wisdom is that managers command through rules while leaders motivate through trust.

We've gotten used to the idea that leadership is the evolved form of management. Leadership is the goal, management is the grunt work. The issue with those definitions, however, is that they ignore the very real, valuable and often overlapping skills that leaders and managers need to bring to the table.

Leadership skills, such as knowing how to motivate a team through inspiration instead of authority, are essential. But so is hiring and firing. So is tracking performance and adjusting plans to hit goals. So is budgeting. In short, so is management. And it's time we enable our most promising employees with development programs that prepare them to be good managers and leaders, because the two are inherently intertwined.

Developing Leaders Who Manage and Managers Who Lead

Being a leader means being a visionary who can inspire a team to move forward. And being a manager means being able to navigate the arduous journey to that vision. That's why an effective leadership and management training program can't focus on leadership as the end goal. To help your rising employees hone both sets of skills, your leadership and management training should be thoughtful and all-encompassing, designed to empower leaders and managers who can envision, build, guide and coach a team to achieve its goals (both aspirational and transactional).

We've set out to design a playbook that breaks down how you can use leadership and management training to help your employees focus on both vision and execution, motivation and communication, and strategy and results. Through a series of lessons on arming managers with honest—rather than just "feel good"—motivation strategies and helping leaders understand their role in execution and "dirty work," we'll show you how to complement your existing training with new L&D content.

In doing so, we'll help you ensure that your leaders act as managers, and your managers act as leaders. Because you don't want a visionary who can't navigate. You want trailblazers who can do it all.

Learn more by visiting our lessons: LESSON ONE and LESSON TWO and LESSON THREE.

If you're interested in learning more about how Cornerstone can help you develop your employees, leaders and managers, click here. And, be sure to bookmark this post for lessons from our playbook. 

Photo: Creative Commons