As a student of leadership, I’ve been wrestling with a question for some time…
What’s the real difference between management and leadership?
Leadership has become such a glamorized word in our culture. It feels so much nicer and more inspiring than the often derogatory connotation that comes with the word management.
But the longer I study great leaders, the more I’m convinced that you can’t be a great leader without being a great manager.
Sometimes I feel like today’s leaders want the glory of being known as a great leader without the hard work of management.
Great leaders are great managers.
Let’s take a minute to look at some definitions:
leadership – an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction
- to go before or with to show the way; conduct or escort
- to conduct by holding and guiding
- to influence or induce; cause
- to guide in direction, course, action, opinion, etc.
- to command or direct (an army or other large organization)
- to go at the head of or in advance of (a procession, list, body, etc.)
- a person who has control or direction of an institution, business, etc., or of a part, division, or phase of it.
- a person who controls and manipulates resources and expenditures, as of a household.
- to bring about or succeed in accomplishing, sometimes despite difficulty or hardship
- to take charge or care of
- to handle, direct, govern, or control in action or use
Do you see the overlap and the complimentary themes?
Management is the method by which great leadership is executed. The two go hand in hand. Management is one of several important dimensions of leadership.
If you are trying to lead without the difficult work of management, you are going to find yourself floundering and frustrated.
Management takes a leader’s instincts and inspiration and puts action to it.
We’ve got to quit being afraid of management. Management is the stewardship engine that drives leadership.
The eloquent use of management as an element of our leadership is a beautiful picture of influence as an art form.
How does the word management make you feel?