Management v Leadership – Spot the difference?

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Before we get into the debate… lets dispel a few myths.

Myth 1 – Leadership is good and management is bad – This depends on a number of factors – environment, task, culture, objective and time frames and so on… Leadership is longer-term and can go beyond the expected… create cultures, teams and people that deliver the truly exceptional… So is understandable why it seems more desirable, but the honest truth is that, when the objective and method of delivery are absolute… when a process that cannot be deviated from, then sometimes management can deliver objectives quicker and better than leadership… so respect is due from both sides of the coin!

Myth 2 – Leaders are people focused and managers only care about results – The myth will allude to that managers are autocratic, micro-controlling and mean – Let’s be honest… GREAT managers have to get the best out of people, so will have to be people focused… and so do leaders. It is far to general to say all managers are results driven and not good with people…

Myth 3 – Leadership can be taught via models and process’s… If you have ever been to a leadership course and been shown a “leadership model” on how to get better results, set better objectives, adapt style dependant on capability/skill or other such useful tools… please remember… these are management models, not leadership… many of these models are very useful in business and life… but don’t be fooled. Its management NOT leadership!

Myth 4 – You are either a manager or a leader… simply not true, you CAN do both if so desired.

Right then… Management v Leadership…


Management is practical, management is process lead… management is every day.

Leadership is NOT practical, NOT process lead and NOT every day.

In really simple terms… managers figure out what needs to be done and gets people to do it. They try to get people to do what they did yesterday a little bit better… a little bit faster… a little bit cheaper…

What leaders do is…

Understand their own sense of purpose and articulate this in a compelling manner.

Find and surround themselves with the right people (people who believe what they believe)

Agree on where we are going

Get out of the way!

You see, with leadership you don’t know what will happen tomorrow… there is no set process… you have followers that are autonomous in how they deliver… The only thing you can be sure of in leadership is that because you have followers who believe what you believe… whatever happens tomorrow, it will be in the right direction!

Management is a science – there is a process… the better you follow the process the better the manager you are… doing this will mean your people will deliver on objectives… sometimes slightly better than yesterday.

Leadership is an art – no real process to follow… However if you lead… then the results that can be achieved, the growth of your followers that can be delivered, the excellence that can be reached is staggering… More than can ever be expected or delivered by just management… more than can be imagined.

Leaderships and their followers can change companies, can change industries and can change the world!

The quality of your life and leadership is dependent on the quality of your questions – if you want to be a better leader ask yourself these questions now and everyday…

  1. Did I help someone do something they didn’t think they could today?
  2. Did I help someone grow beyond expectations?
  3. Can I get out the way more, so my followers can achieve something amazing?

If you ask yourself these questions each day, you will automatically focus more on these areas… which will allow you to identify more opportunities to say YES to these questions.

Here is a promise… Answer YES to these questions everyday and you will feel awesome! You will get hooked and never ever get tired of it!

But to start saying YES is scary… you don’t know what will happen tomorrow… that perceived grip of control is loosened… It’s scary… It’s amazing… It can deliver world changing ideas, concepts and results!

I urge you to bring leadership into your life more and more… adding value, making a real and lasting difference… giving to people… is more fulfilling, more joyful, more exceptional than anything else!

Don’t worry about being a little bit cheaper… or working a little bit harder… it’s not a race you want to win.

Win the race to the top… Be generous, be artistic, be a leader!

Share your vision, allow innovation and add value… be a part of something bigger than what you do!

None of those things have anything to do with control… nothing to do with compliance or telling people what to do – why do it?

Leadership is communication of what you believe… people will follow because of this… say what you believe, see who follows… achieve what used to be impossible!

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