Management &Work | 19 Nov 2013

Manager vs. Leader

A lot has been said and written on distinction between management and leadership. Not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers. However, companies find that in order to have an advantage in today’s competitive environment, their most successful and effective employees should combine qualities and responsibilities of both leaders and managers.

What is so different between managers and leaders? I find that these two quotes that I came across recently summarize the main differences nicely. John Kotter makes a clear distinction between the two in the classic HBR article:

Management is about coping with complexity; it brings order and predictability to a situation. But that’s no longer enough—to succeed, companies must be able to adapt to change. Leadership, then, is about learning how to cope with rapid change.

How does this distinction play out?
Management involves planning and budgeting. Leadership involves setting direction.
Management involves organizing and staffing. Leadership involves aligning people.
Management provides control and solves problems. Leadership provides motivation.

~ John P. Kotter in What Leaders Really Do

Seth Godin differentiates management and leadership when applied to solving marketing and creative problems.

Management is almost diametrically opposed to leadership. Management is about generating yesterday’s results, but a little faster and a little more cheaply. Leadership, though, is a whole other game. Leadership puts the leader on the line. No manual, no rule book, no überleader to point the finger at when things go wrong. If you ask someone for the rule book on how to lead, you’re secretly wishing to be a manager.

~ Seth Godin in The Icarus Deception

When I grow up, I want to be a leader with a little bit of manager sprinkled on top.
What about you?

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply