What Are The Key Differences Between Leadership and Management?

By September 20, 2019 Tech News and Tips

Leadership vs. Management

I ran across an article this morning that I thought was worth sharing. This timeless article was published in the December 2001 Harvard Business Review and is titled What Leaders Really Do. It was written by John P. Kotter.

Kotter points out that there are differences between leadership and management, but that they are not what most people think. “Leadership isn’t mystical or mysterious”, and it is not based upon how much personality or charisma a leader has. Rather, both leadership and management compliment each other and each would fail without the other.

Management is about coping with complexity through the use of processes and systems, while leadership is about coping with change. The author states that “most U.S. corporations today are over-managed and under-led.” This reminds me of the Jim Collins book, Good to Great, where Collins makes the point that “Great” leaders are not flashy, charismatic people, but often tend to be understated and quick to distribute praise to their teams, but equally quick to take blame for things that didn’t go as planned. Like Collins, Kotter says that successful companies actively seek out team members that have these coveted leadership traits and help expose them to growth opportunities.

Kotter ends the article with the warning that a company with strong leadership but poor management is as bad, or worse than weak leadership with good management.

What are you doing in your company to grow leaders and managers?

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