I’ve struggled for a long time with coming up with a good definition of management versus leadership. It seems that people use the two words interchangeably. Others seem to have strong opinions about what each is. I’ve heard a number of CEOs say that they need better managers and not better leaders.
In grappling with a way to distinguish between the two I’ve also been trying to find a way to describe what I do. I think I started out trying to help people improve their leadership capabilities but I’m now convinced that what I do is more oriented around improving management skills. the key is deciding how you define these two things.
So here it goes (until I come up with another definition.)
Management is a bunch of processes that are deployed to run an organization. These processes are about analyzing, planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling. This is how you clarify jobs, measure performance, problem solve, and reward people. This is the logical side of business.
Leadership on the other hand is about motivating and inspiring people. It is about making an emotional connection with an individual and thus is the emotional side of organizations.
There are a few disciplines that cross the two boundaries, setting a vision and communicating being two that come to mind immediately. These disciplines have both a logical, procedural component and an emotional one.
So I”m coming full circle in my thinking, having started with focussing on leadership and now thinking maybe that’s the wrong focus. After all, it’s hard to teach leadership behaviours to people but relatively easy to teach management processes. And from what I see, there is as much wrong with management as there is with leadership.
congratulations – you are now where the action is, things are done and success is measured. Good managers play “follow the leader”. Good leaders play “I know – so – follow me”. How’s that for a golden oldie?
It may be old but I’ll have to think about it for a while to figure out if it is golden.
Those are good definitions. I think they align with the preconceived notions I had that leadership was about establishing the mid-and-long range strategy and vision for the organization vs the management focus on tactical response for delivery of that strategy.
I think that’s why the lines tend to blur between leadership & management. I don’t know about your experience, but in mine it wasn’t always clear whether we were dealing with a strategic or tactical issue.
I spend a lot of trying to produce simple ways of looking at complex subjects. That’s why I came up with the Management is Logical, Leadership is Emotional differentiation. As to strategy versus tactics, I’ve had a breakthrough there as well recently but you’ll have to wait till the New Year for me to blog on that. Meanwhile, have a great holiday season and good luck with your next bucket list.