Servicing Australia wide HR consulting for employers Australia wide.

Managers or leaders: which do you really need?

In today’s corporate environment, which is more important to the success of your business: managers or leaders?

People in the work environment are interesting, no? Some work to climb the career ladder, some simply to make ends meet, others occupy a seat while they plan to move on and some are yet to figure out which category they fall into.

Managing individuals with such diversity of ambitions and motivations is hard. Really hard. We place our expectations of getting the best from our people onto our managers. And we expect our managers to show leadership while doing so. But is this expectation reasonable? Are all managers leaders simply because they hold a senior position within an organisation? Consider three factors that suggest perhaps not:

1. Managers care about the numbers. Leaders care about the people.

This statement isn’t to belittle managers; after all, a commercial enterprise exists to generate a return for the shareholders. But leaders recognise that while the numbers are important, they’re not the only thing that matters. Particularly to the people working to generate that return.

2. Managers focus on the “now”. Leaders look toward the future.

Managers supervise staff in the day-to-day operations of an organisation. Getting the job done. Leaders ask the question: how do our actions and decisions today lead us to something better in the future?

3. Managers direct how people achieve business objectives. Leaders create an environment where people can do their best work.

There’s little argument – depending on the situation and individuals involved – that directing people how to do their work is necessary. Good leaders however, recognise the importance of encouraging competent people to make their own decisions on the best way to get things done. A leader inspires and supports other people to succeed. Sometimes that involves letting things evolve without the overt direction of a manager.

It’s been said the main difference between being a leader and a manager is that people follow leaders, while managers have people who work for them. What we’ve experienced across our 20+ years in HR is that management typically emphasises task orientation while leadership emphasises a people orientation…and both are important for business success. Competent management equates to business profitability, sustainability and corporate reputation. Workers form an emotional connection to leaders who treat their employees as colleagues rather than as followers. And positive emotion equates to employee engagement.

While Bare Bones Consulting recommends you address compliance of your HR function as your first priority, professional development of people at all levels of your business should be a close second. Check out how we helped an international resources company reduce their employee turnover by over 70 percent through leadership development. That’s real dollars in your pocket.

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Even if you elect to not proceed after our first complimentary consultation you’ll be in a better position to know what’s possible.

We believe our approach to HR is unique... but then again, so is your business.