Leadership and Management: Both Skill Sets Are Required in Business Today

Thursday, December 15, 2016

One day when my colleagues and I were meeting with our managing partner, I remember being admonished: “You lead people and you manage systems and things.” That was more than 25 years ago, and we have been bombarded with leadership from all sides ever since.

Just recently, though, I was reminded that leadership is more of an art and management is more of a science. What’s more, I sort of got the idea that the “art” was more important than the “science.” Maybe it is. For instance, I have a hard time with a leader who may create a great vision for the future, yet doesn’t have the skills to organize the workforce, plan the work, influence the workforce, and execute the plan.

In fact, I believe that we may have allowed the pendulum to swing so far toward leadership that we have not been teaching our aspiring leaders how to manage themselves and the people they lead. Isn’t management the foundation of good leadership? Isn’t managing yourself well so you can be effective and efficient necessary to become a great leader?

Leadership skills are clearly very important in business. If you can’t create a vision and get others to see that vision and buy into making it a reality, it doesn’t matter how effective and efficient you are. If you can’t successfully and positively influence the people in the organization, no matter how well you execute you won’t produce the results necessary for success.

Bottom line: we need both leadership and management. Great leaders must have a skill set that includes managing themselves and their organization. And they must have great leadership skills to gain the energy and excitement of the people in the organization.

Management is planning, influencing, organizing, and controlling. There are two sets of management skills: managing yourself and managing others. When it comes to managing yourself, we are talking about planning, influencing, controlling, and organizing you. It is about being organized, having the discipline to stick with a task until it is complete, and setting high-quality standards for your work product and for yourself. It also must include integrity.

The following table shows some of the key skills within each management skill set.

Table 1. Management Skill Sets

Managing Yourself

Managing Others

Personal Organization

Creating Positive Influence

Business Writing Skills

Group Presentation Skills


Dealing With Difficult People

Planning Your Work and Working Your Plan

Setting Priorities for the Organization

Self-Discipline in the Workplace

Workflow Management for the Organization

Personal Workflow Management

Effective Delegation and Accountability

Personal Attitude

Following Through

Business Etiquette

Business Etiquette

How Are Your Management Skills? 

What are we to do about this need for management skills? There are two things you should consider: 

  1. Make sure your current leaders have good positive management skills and use them to lead by example. 
  2. Leaders are responsible for developing the people they lead and the people need to be taught management skills early in their career. 

But first things first. How are your management skills? Are there skills you need to work on improving for your own benefit and to help you and the people you lead by example today? 

Take the following assessment and draw your own conclusions, then set up your own development plan. (More than three yes answers probably means you need a development plan.) After all, we can only worry about things we have control over and the only real thing we control is ourselves. 

Management Skill Assessment



Yes or No

1. I use the surfaces in and around my desk to organize my paper and things to do.



2. I have stacks on top of stacks in my office.



3. My email inbox has 50 emails or more (open or not open).



4. When I write a memo or a letter it just flows and I write like I talk.



5. I believe that when I give a group presentation it is my job to deliver information and get my point across; the more the better.



6. When I do a presentation I believe PowerPoint (or Key Note) is a powerful tool; there just isn’t enough space on each slide.



7. I delegate tasks and projects to my team members and let them keep me informed as they see fit during our weekly meetings.



8. I don’t need a delegation system. I keep it all in my head—I know whom I have asked to do what.



9. I know, generally, what I’ve asked my direct reports to do, but sometimes I find that I will delegate the same thing to another person after I delegated it to someone else.



10. It doesn’t matter what other people think of me because I get the work done and that’s all that matters, right?



About the Author
Morris Sims started Sims Training and Consulting after 32 years with New York Life Insurance company. While Morris began his career as an agent, he spent 30 years training the agents and managers and leading the field training organization, NYLIC University. Sims Training and Consulting focuses on practical ways to work smarter and grow your career. Practical sales, leadership, and management ideas are one area of interest for SL&T. Contact Morris at or 914.482.8714.
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