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Management versus Leadership

I was helping a friend today work through some issues with his company and the topic of management versus leadership came up.   The subject made me think about a great discussion I had with an Army Colonel a few years back.  I have summarized my notes from that conversation below.

If Management is about systems, processes, policies and resources and Leadership is about vision, inspiration, values and people then the basic premise is that ‘Leaders deal with management shortfalls’.

Basically, leadership is required when the systems & process do not work…. Leadership is required when the policies are not applicable or do not exist… Leadership is required when there are not enough resources to accomplish the task…

So what do good managers do?

  • They match resources to taskings…
  • They measure, set goals and compare…
  • They are accountable…  Failure to hold people accountable will create a culture of mediocrity.
  • They organize around the product (mission) and not the processes (functions)…  Keeping in mind that organizational structure can—by itself—preclude success, but it cannot—by itself—ensure success.
  • They recognize that micro-information is not the same as micromanagement.  They are not afraid to engage the tough problems themselves.
  • They watch out for systems that tend to punish the excellent in order to reward the mediocre.

And… what do good leaders do?

  • They create more leaders–constantly doing leadership development by identifying potential leaders and mentoring / grooming them along…
  • They spend their time doing things only they can do for the organization…
  • They are principled, transparent and their values become institutional values…
  • Their character is built from the cross section of courage, integrity and perseverance…
  • They avoid issuing orders, preferring to request, imply, or make suggestions… They use storytelling to make points…
  • They ignore petty attacks and fight back when it is important enough to make a difference…
  • They are consistent…
  • They don’t lose confidence in their people when they fail…
  • They never stop learning…
  • They simplify…
  • They are positive and have fun…

Here are the books I recommended on the subject:

Feel free to add information on the subject as I’m sure he would be very appreciative as would others…



Categories: Leadership
  1. February 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    This was sent to me today–it’s an incredible read:


    “true leadership means being able to think for yourself and act on your convictions”

    “The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.”

  2. February 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    “How will you awaken possibility in other people?” — Zander

  3. Karthika S
    May 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Of course, a worth reading… 🙂 Good!

    After going through this, i remember a statement from one of the books i read, a couple of months back.. just wanted to share.

    “Management is the efficiency in climbing the ladder of success

    Leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall”

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