Management and Leadership in social and health care: what are the differences?

The manager has been present and very important in organisations and services providing care for many years.  This figure is in charge of following procedures, organising work and coordinating the various roles, assigning the right people to the necessary tasks and ensuring that the work is carried out as expected. However, although the manager has to deal with the staff, it’s not obvious that has leadership skills, i.e. characteristics that are not only aimed at coordinating the members of the organisation but are active in the process of change and in inspiring and involving the staff. In fact, the leader is not only called upon to manage, but to build the staff, increase their skills, stimulate their motivation and team spirit, enhancing the talents of the individual and ensuring that each employee gives the best in covered role.

According to Warren Bennis, author in 1989 of the book “On Becoming a Leader“, the main differences between the manager and the leader are:

  • The manager looks to the bottom line to perform the task and achieve the goals, the leader looks to the horizon to analyse the bigger picture and bring innovation
  • The main task of management is to maintain a company’s condition and ensure its progress; on the contrary, one of the main purposes of leadership is development, growth, both of the work environment (company) and of the workforce (people)
  • The manager follows already existing models, persevering with them; the leader, while inspired by precise techniques already established, uses them not to imitate something already existing, but to create something original
  • The manager applies procedures, the leader finds solutions

Increasingly, attention is being paid to the figure of the leader within organisations and services, a figure that includes a number of skills that can be stimulated and built upon, especially in managers who already hold leadership roles and who can play a key role in improving the quality of care provided.

The Erasmus+ Compass project aims to promote and equip care managers with a leadership approach to innovate the care system and environments and to support care staff in applying a reflective and Person-centred approach to care.

The capacity building course for care managers will be launched in the coming months. Don’t miss the project updates 😉

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