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The Differences between Leadership and Management

May 19, 2008 1 comment

First lets start with an old standbyfrom On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis:

  • Managers administer, leaders innovate
  • Managers ask how and when, leaders ask what and why
  • Managers focus on systems, leaders focus on people
  • Managers do things right, leaders do the right things
  • Managers maintain, leaders develop
  • Managers rely on control, leaders inspire trust
  • Managers have a short-term perspective, leaders have a longer-term perspective
  • Managers accept the status-quo, leaders challenge the status-quo
  • Managers have an eye on the bottom line, leaders have an eye on the horizon
  • Managers imitate, leaders originate
  • Managers emulate the classic good soldier, leaders are their own person
  • Managers copy, leaders show originality
  • Managers administer, leaders innovate
  • Managers ask how and when, leaders ask what and why
  • Managers focus on systems, leaders focus on people
  • Managers do things right, leaders do the right things
  • Managers maintain, leaders develop
  • Managers rely on control, leaders inspire trust
  • Managers have a short-term perspective, leaders have a longer-term perspective
  • Managers accept the status-quo, leaders challenge the status-quo
  • Managers have an eye on the bottom line, leaders have an eye on the horizon
  • Managers imitate, leaders originate
  • Managers emulate the classic good soldier, leaders are their own person
  • Managers copy, leaders show originality

In short managers supervise and control resources while making and following plans, whereas leaders transcend resources and plans by influencing and inspiring. Managers are often leaders but the converse of this does not have to be true, many talented leaders are not particularly good at supervision, stewardship or planning, but they can influence and inspire.

One of my favorite measures of a leader is the simplest one of all – leaders have followers – irrespective of title, rank or position – they have and gain followers who are inspired or influenced by what they say and how they act.

To close I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorite thinkers on the management and leadership:

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

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