Both a manager and a leader may know the business well. But the
leader must know it better and in a different way. S/he must grasp the
essential facts and the underlying forces that determine the past and
present trends in the business, so that s/he can generate a vision and
a strategy to bring about its future. One telling sign of a good
leader is an honest attitude towards the facts, towards objective
truth. A subjective leader obscures the facts for the sake of narrow
self-interest, partisan interest or prejudice.
Effective leaders continually ask questions, probing all levels of
the organization for information, testing their own perceptions, and
rechecking the facts. They talk to their constituents. They want to
know what is working and what is not. They keep an open mind for
serendipity to bring them the knowledge they need to know what is
true. An important source of information for this sort of leader is
knowledge of the failures and mistakes that are being made in their
To survive in the twenty-first century, we are going to need a new
generation of leaders leaders, not managers. The distinction is an
important one. Leaders conquer the context the turbulent, ambiguous
surroundings that sometimes seem to conspire against us and will
surely suffocate us if we let them while managers surrender to it.
Leaders investigate reality, taking in the pertinent factors and
analyzing them carefully. On this basis they produce visions,
concepts, plans, and programs. Managers adopt the truth from others
and implement it without probing for the facts that reveal reality.
There is profound difference a chasm between leaders and
managers. A good manager does things right. A leader does
the right things. Doing the right things implies a goal, a
direction, an objective, a vision, a dream, a path, a reach.
Lots of people spend their lives climbing a ladder and then they
get to the top of the wrong wall. Most losing organizations are
over-managed and under-led. Their managers accomplish the wrong things
beautifully and efficiently. They climb the wrong wall.
Managing is about efficiency. Leading is about effectiveness.
Managing is about how. Leading is about what and why. Management is
about systems, controls, procedures, policies, and structure.
Leadership is about trust about people.
Leadership is about innovating and initiating. Management is about
copying, about managing the status quo. Leadership is creative,
adaptive, and agile. Leadership looks at the horizon, not just the
Leaders base their vision, their appeal to others, and their
integrity on reality, on the facts, on a careful estimate of the
forces at play, and on the trends and contradictions. They develop the
means for changing the original balance of forces so that their vision
can be realized.
A leader is someone who has the capacity to create a compelling
vision that takes people to a new place, and to translate that vision
into action. Leaders draw other people to them by enrolling them in
their vision. What leaders do is inspire people, empower them.
They pull rather than push. This "pull" style of leadership
attracts and energizes people to enroll in a vision of the future. It
motivates people by helping them identify with the task and the goal
rather than by rewarding or punishing them.
There is a profound difference between management and leadership,
and both are important "To manage" means "to bring about, to
accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct."
"Leading" is "influencing, guiding in direction, course, action,
opinion." The distinction is crucial.
Coping with complexity
Coping with and promoting change
Planning and Budgeting
Setting a Direction
Organizing and Staffing
Controlling and Problem Solving
Motivating and Inspiring People
Both are necessary and important.
Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who
do the right thing. The difference may be summarized as activities of
vision and judgment effectiveness versus activities of
mastering routines efficiency. The chart below indicates key
words that further make the distinction between the two functions:
· The manager administers; the leader
· The manager is a copy; the leader is
· The manager maintains; the leader
· The manager accepts reality; the
leader investigates it.
· The manager focuses on systems and
structure; the leader focuses on people.
· The manager relies on control; the
leader inspires trust.
· The manager has a short-range view;
the leader has a long-range perspective.
· The manager asks how and when; the
leader asks what and why.
· The manager has his or her eye always
on the bottom line; the leader has his or her eye on the horizon.
· The manager imitates; the leader
· The manager accepts the status quo;
the leader challenges it.
· The manager is the classic good
soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
· The manager does things right; the
leader does the right thing.
The most dramatic differences between leaders and managers are
found at the extremes: poor leaders are despots, while poor managers
are bureaucrats in the worst sense of the word. Whilst leadership is a
human process and management is a process of resource allocation, both
have their place and managers must also perform as leaders. All
first-class managers turn out to have quite a lot of leadership
With thanks to "Learning to Lead"
by Warren Bennis and Joan Goldsmith