We Cannot Choose Between Management And Leadership

I subscribe to a number of services that look for pithy quotes from Big Names, authors, and other people who are looking for publicity. I saw one about moving from manager to leader.

Ok, so these are writers or reporters, and they may not know. Choosing to be a manager without being a leader is like choosing to drive across the country without a map. Choosing to be a leader without having management skills is like choosing to be a fish without gills. You have to know where you’re going, and you have to know how to breathe in your environment.

Managers set the strategy and the vision, so everyone knows what is going on and can work on the most important work. Managers create the environment so that the people all over the organization can succeed, including the managers. They are not the only people who do this, but they are the leaders who must do this. If managers do these things in a command-and-control way, they might succeed. If they choose servant leadership, they are more likely to be successful.

Managers must be leaders. We cannot choose between management and leadership. We must have both.

About Johanna Rothman

I help managers and leaders do reasonable things that work.
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10 Responses to We Cannot Choose Between Management And Leadership

  1. Johanna,

    in this point, I have a slightly different view. Being a leader without being a manager is quite possible and quite feasible, too. Imagine a lead dev in a team of devs. (S)he leads because people ask him/her for help. (S)he may also choose to be a manager or (s)he may not – both would be fine options, in my opinion.

    The other way round, however: Being a manager without being a leader is a non-starter, I agree with you in that point.

    What do you think?

    Cheers,
    Matthias

  2. Oh, and by the way: Anybody can act as a situational leader, e.g. make a suggestion how to mitigate an impediment. He will lead for 10 minutes and then go back to what he did before. Howz that?

  3. Johanna says:

    Matthias, I agree that anyone can lead at any time. It’s a good thing! The manager is not the only leader; that’s kinda crazy.

    It’s the being a manager without being a leader that makes me nutso. And there, we agree. Actually, I think we agree on everything. You said it better!

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  5. Bill Duncan says:

    How can one agree or disagree in the absence of definitions?

    It all depends on what you mean by “leader” and “manager.”

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  8. andyv says:

    This is what blows my mine – some say in an organization, you have a leader, a manager and a worker.
    http://guides.wsj.com/management/developing-a-leadership-style/what-is-the-difference-between-management-and-leadership/

  9. Johanna says:

    Andy, I think that article is wrong and stupid. I still have it on my list to answer Bill’s question, what I mean by a leader and manager. I haven’t forgotten. My list is long :-)

  10. Rolf says:

    Hi Johanna,

    “Managers set the strategy and the vision, so everyone knows what is going on and can work on the most important work. Managers create the environment so that the people all over the organization can succeed…” – that’s very interesting, because it describes my understanding of a leader, not that of a manager. I’m looking forward to when you define both terms.

    Rolf

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