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January 26, 2009

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Wally Bock

Thanks for the interesting post on the roots of words leadership and management. As for real life, I find it better to see them as different kinds of work, rather than different kinds of people. Every boss I've ever known has had to do both kinds of work.

Eric Dana Hansen

In my recently published novel for pre-teens, Ian, the main character struggles to understand the difference between management and leadership. I think that it is important to introduce these concepts to our youth at an early age.

All the best,

Eric Dana Hansen
Author of "IAN, CEO, North Pole"
http://www.ianceonorthpole.com

Hayli @ Rise Smart

That's a great idea, Eric. To build on that, maybe youth and college "job shadowers" should be shadowing lower-level workers one day, then do a follow-up day shadowing an executive. It may provide a more enlightening experience for them and get them thinking about leadership early on.

Greg Basham

While this isn't an original definition, I like to think of managing as accomplishing the organization's objectives through the efforts of others. To do this means being a leader and leadership. With this definition of management top of mind, it became clear to me that my role as a manager did not mean being a hands on doer unless that 'doing' was leading.

If leadership implies followers then managers who aren't leading seem to be nothing more than lead workers.

It is interesting that in sports like baseball and European soccer (football), the head coach is called the manager. This connotes that this person has both other coaches and the players to lead. Team sports is not always a good analogy to business for some but as a successful senior men's soccer coach and corporate executive, I learned that it is less about the skills of your individuals but more about putting the team's shared vision into action. I will take a lesser skilled player any day over the player who is committed to our shared vision and how we play and do things as a team from practice sessions to game preparation and play.

Greg Basham

What I meant to say in that last sentence in my above post is that:

I will take a lesser skilled player any day over the player who is not committed to our shared vision and how we play and do things as a team from practice sessions to game preparation and play.

Kevin Berchelmann

Jim,

To my way of thinking, it's much ado about nothing.

I must say, I see the connection opposite as you describe: I believe that all leaders are managers, but not all managers are leaders.

Many consultants (and yes, I am one), academics, and self-proclaimed gurus perpetuate this myth that “Leadership” is some lofty, intrinsic skill, frequently arrived at through timing, opportunity, and sometimes “birth.”

Those same experts will then explain how “management” is a basic, simple skill learned by reading books, attending classes, and being developed in a regimented fashion.

Hogwash.

The connection between leadership and management is inextricable. The two are so interconnected that spending time arguing about the differences is akin to arguing whether a plane can fly more because of it’s shape or engine thrust. It takes – needs – both to work correctly, and the nuance difference doesn't matter to passengers on board.

The same holds true for leadership and management.

Simply put (to me, anyway) leadership is the ability to craft a vision, and the wherewithal to execute on that vision.

Practically, it's the successful combination of effective management practice, coupled with the personal credibility and the ability to motivate others.

And the nuance difference doesn't really matter to those we lead and/or manage -- they simply want to be part of something successful.

But that's just me...

KB

Greg Basham

Kevin Berchelmann's take on took me back to the original post and led to reflect more on my views.

While some in Jim's list of leaders who aren't managers might be arguable such as managers of sports teams, the basic distinctions he draws between management and leadership still work for me.

The idea that all leaders are managers does not always square with political leaders. Political leaders such as effective Presidents of the United States leave the management and implementation of their policies and initiatives to others and confine themselves to leading. You will often hear stories of ex-Presidents who got mired in details that others should have been dealing with and thus squandering the most precious commodity a term based leader has - his or her time and at times their political capital. If they get mired in the management details you will find their overall effectiveness diminished.

As a corporate executive in a large Canadian insurance company versus my current work as CEO of a smaller, newer company is a case in point. Pointing the way and providing the guidance was vastly more beneficial to my organization than getting into details that experts who worked with me were far more adept at.

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