Leaders versus Managers – I think not!

Leadership versus Management?

On a LinkedIn Group that will be better not named, I saw the following subject suggested for a blog post.

“Leadership vs. Management: Highlights the differences between the task orientation of managers and the inspirational orientation of leaders.”

Now I know what they mean, but I thought how sad! Is one really to be set against the other and is there the difference in value implied?

Yes, at its core, leadership is about creating a vision for the organization and inspiring people to march out into the world to achieve it.

Leadership has fascinated people for many hundreds of years.

As soon as we could organise ourselves into groups we needed a leader. Someone had to decide in which direction to go for the hunt – democracy doesn’t appear to be in-built!

By the time of Plato and Socrates, the qualities required for leadership had become something of an obsession.

Leadership depends on a process of influence through which people are “inspired” to work towards common goals.

So the leader has the vision and inspires us to work together towards something.

So what of management?

Well management too has been around for millennia – try Sun Tzu’s The Art of War written in the 6th Century BC.

Management gets the job done – it gets us safely to our destination.

Management takes the vision and turns it into a blueprint – something we can create and a real vibrant destination. Management plans, organizes and resources!  It creates and nurtures the team for the journey.   Management ensures that what is delivered is of the right quality and that we get to our destination intact.

The verb manage comes from the Italian maneggiare (to handle — especially tools), which in turn derives from the Latin manus (hand). The number managed (handled) can range from one person in a small firm to hundreds of thousands in a multinational company.

Managers are artists and craftspeople creating with the most volatile material known, the human spirit.

So next time you think about the task orientation of managers and the “inspirational” orientation of leaders remember this.  A president of the United States had the vision that man would go to the moon but it was managers, lots and lots of talented managers, that got us there.

A question!

In my view, managers and leaders need each other.  They should not in some way be set against each other. In my experience excellent managers are as scarce as excellent leaders in this world.

Well that is my view, but what do you think?

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

  • Trust (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Heroes – Gurus of Change [Wendy Mason] (ecademy.com)
  • Organizational culture, what organizational culture? (wisewolftalking.com)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *