Management vs. Leadership

career-1738216_1920Taking a team from ordinary to extraordinary means understanding and embracing the difference between management and leadership. According to writer and consultant Peter Drucker, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Manager and leader are two completely different roles, although we often use the terms interchangeably. Managers are facilitators of their team members’ success. They ensure that their people have everything they need to be productive and successful; that they are well trained, happy and have minimal roadblocks in their path; that they are being groomed for the next level; that they are recognized for great performance and coached through their challenges. Managers are individuals who engage in and follow the day-to-day, exhibit supervisory behavior and acts within the established culture of the organization, supporting the status quo.

Conversely, a leader can be anyone on the team who has a particular talent, who is creatively thinking out of the box and has a great idea, who has experience in a certain aspect of the business or project that can prove useful to the manager and the team.  Leaders are individuals who formulate long-term objectives and strategies, they innovate for the entire team or organization, and they are individuals who create visions and meaning for the organization, challenging the status quo at times in order to create a change that is needed.

According to John Kotter, a professor of leadership at Harvard Business school, the distinction between management and is leadership is thus: management involves coping with complexity, whereas leadership is coping with change.

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