UPDATE — Thanks to my friend, Lee White in South Carolina, I’ve discovered that the super-brainy Rachel Happe has posted on similar matters today. I am a huge fan of Rachel, so utterly delighted that she thinks the same way.
I’ve just started back on some postgraduate study, and one of the initial discussions we’re having is a vigorous analysis of the difference between management and leadership.
I’ve got strong opinions about this, having frequently been managed and rarely led. Here’s the contribution I made to the group:
A manager spends their time ensuring all the ducks are in a row. That all the tasks are done, that all the required reporting happens in the right way and that work is delivered on time and on budget. A manager’srole is reflected in the org chart and their authority is accorded to them by the organisation.
A leader inspires, draws people in and brings them along, as equals, on a journey. Often, a leader takes people to a goal where higher ideals and more engaging work are the norm. A leader may also be the person who is the source of knowledge and clarity on a particular subject or issue. Leaders are rarely reflected on the org chart and their authority derives from the social capital afforded to them by those around them.
Few managers are great leaders and only some leaders are good managers. In most organisations people are promoted to positions in management due to perceived technical expertise, rather than either management or leadership skills. It is for this reason that so many organisations suffer through bad management. Equally, those promoted to positions of leadership, in the sense of the org chart, are rarely equipped to be such.
Management is a skill that can be learned. True leadership is innate.
You need both in your organisation. You need to know the difference.
What do you think?