Point 1: We often talk of management and leadership as if they are the same thing - They are not.
The two are related, however their central functions are quite different. Of course, managers provide leadership, and leaders perform management functions. Managers, however usually do not perform the unique functions of leaders.
Multiple functions, limited resources and conflicting demands for time and resources, require management. Management involves setting priorities, establishing processes, overseeing the execution of tasks and measuring progress against expectations.
Leadership is going ahead to guide the way. There are essential abilities required to lead – values, goals, competence, courage, and spirit – expressed in three sets of requirements:
1) the ability to set and articulate goals, and
2) reach those goals through the efforts of other people, and finally,
3) the ability to satisfy the people whose judgment must be respected even under stress.
Point 2: There is a progression of development from management to leadership.
Management Competencies provide the foundation. As we hone these competencies, Transition Skills become increasingly necessary as we seek to begin practicing Leadership.
This is where we begin – with management competencies. We all need to be good managers. If we aspire to move beyond, we need transition skills to propel us into leadership and then we can explore leadership potentials.
Point 3: The difference between Management and Leadership activities is also found in brain functioning. Current brain research assists in the differentiation and our understanding of managers and leaders. When involved in management tasks the prefrontal cortex is activated.
The prefrontal cortex is activated when preforming ‘executive functions’ (also known as cognitive control and supervisory attentional system). These functions are a set of cognitive processes – including attentional control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility, as well as reasoning, problem solving, that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals (DeYoung CG, et. Al. 2010 and Yuan, Peng, and Raz, Naftali, 2014).
When engaged in leadership, however the amygdala which research has shown to perform a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions (Buchanan, T.W., Tranel, D. & Adolphs, R, 2009) is activated.
The amygdala is also linked to declarative memory, which consists of facts and information from previously experienced events and must be consciously recalled. It also plays a significant role in the retention of episodic memory which consists of the autobiographical aspects of memory, permitting you to recall your personal emotional and sensory experience of an event. This type of memory does not require conscious recall. The amygdala plays a role in the association of time and places with emotional properties (Bzdok D, Laird A, Zilles K, Fox PT, Eickhoff S, 2012). These are leadership characteristics.
The amygdala is also thought to be a determinant of the level of a person's emotional intelligence. It is particularly hypothesized that larger amygdalae allow for greater emotional intelligence, enabling greater societal integration and cooperation with others. Indeed a leadership characteristic.
And of course, we all use both in everyday functioning. However, remember that different areas of the brain are activated according to the specific tasks which are involved.
Point 4: Consulting or coaching for Management is very different than consulting or coaching for Leadership. Working with the prefrontal cortex requires levels of increasing intensity, when working with the amygdala reducing activation is of utmost importance. For example, delegating is a management activity. Good ways of enhancing delegation are to increase the activity of the prefrontal cortex by adding complexity to the tasks, offering stretch assignments, increasing the levels of responsibility. The prefrontal cortex is then being ‘trained’, reinforced, and strengthened by the assignments.
On the other hand, consider trust. Trust is a critical element of Leadership. When trust is breached the amygdala is activated, threatened. The task then becomes to focus attention, look for a higher purpose, engage in active listening – all help relieve heightened amygdala activity. This is true with all leadership activities, since leadership is grounded in emotional intelligence – being able to work well with the amygdala rather than falling prey to the basic fear (flight or fight) instincts rooted there.
Point 5: Healthy leadership development requires attention to both the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. The brain is more malleable and plastic at all ages of life than we once thought. Healthy brains also function as a whole. Therefore, productive leadership development reinforces the prefrontal cortex by further honing management competencies while addressing increased levels of emotional intelligence through promoting leadership potentials.
Point 6: We endeavor to make all of this information practical, observable, measurable. The effort to differentiate management and leadership included a review of the literature, meta-analysis of terms and definitions, and brain research which resulted in defining management competencies and leadership potentials. Further we realized that to move from management to leadership was not always easy and that transitional skills were necessary to ensure success. Thus the result is Management Competencies, Transition Skills, Leadership Potentials – the MTL.
Point 7: The MTL is one tool that we find exceedingly useful as we work toward Breakthrough Performance. One tool is not a panacea. We invite you to review more of our resources. As you do so you will find the overlapping, compatible, and synergistic effects. We look forward to working with you, employing the necessary tools ensuring your success.