The Difference Between Management and Leadership

 In Blog, Educational Issues, Featured

Are you playing the “superman” role in your agency?

One of the things that contributes to inefficiency in organizations with more than one manager is the confusion about what managers actually do and how they differ from leaders.

Management guru Peter Drucker proposed a clear distinction.  He said that a leader’s job is to provide the vision for an organization, to set the direction and to inspire people to follow the vision.  Steve Jobs of Apple was a good example of this visionary approach.  He wanted cool products with great design.  He said what products should do.  He didn’t program them.  Jack Welch of GE had a clear vision of only staying in markets where they were number one or two. The visions were different for these two companies but both were very successful.

In contrast, a manager’s job is to get the work done through other people.  Leaders operate at a higher level.  Managers supervise the nitty gritty details.  Much of the confusion about managers and leaders is because of the overlap between them.  In smaller companies, units, or divisions leaders also do some management and managers provide some leadership.  In the leaders’ case, the failing is to get caught up in the management details and forget that they need to provide inspiration and vision.  In the managers’ case the failing is often to get caught up in the work itself and forget that they are supposed to be developing people and supervising them.  When you’re playing “superman” sometimes, humans can’t quite handle it all.

In your case some combination of work, management and leadership probably fills your day.  If so, it can help you avoid confusion by keeping them separate in your mind, and remembering to give all three roles the time and focus they need.

Bressler & Company provides business consulting services to our clients.  If you need help defining clear roles, goals and objectives for yourself and or your managers, give us a call.  We’re here to help – 559.924.1225.

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