This is not to say that having strong management skills isn’t important, or that effective managers aren’t vital components of a modern organization. In my experience, however, strong leadership qualities are more essential than being an effective manager. That said, most organizations are set up in such a way that rewards strong management skills, rather than leadership. Take performance reviews as an example. Your standard performance review includes an overview of the period of time since your last review (or start date), identifying strengths and weaknesses, a discussion of goals and responsibilities, and setting expectations for the coming year. Pretty standard fare. But then, the “manager” will often work with the employee to create a plan to address their weaknesses and bring that part of their game up to par.
This is the same management mindset that prompts hiring managers to look for reasons why not to proceed with a candidate—a focus on weaknesses, rather than strengths. This sort of approach emphasizes what’s wrong with a worker or job candidate, rather than what their strengths are and what they can bring to an organization. It’s the manager’s approach. Leaders, however, approach things differently.