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.

7 Comments

  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

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
    • 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!

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

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

    Reply
    • 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 :-)

      Reply
  4. 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

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. We Cannot Choose Between Management And Leadership … | Larry Davies - [...] to be a leader without having management skills is like choosing to be a fish without gills.See on www.jrothman.com …
  2. Five Blogs – 26 May 2012 « 5blogs - [...] We Cannot Choose Between Management And Leadership Written by: Johanna Rothman [...]
  3. We Cannot Choose Between Management And Leadership - PM Hut - [...] The original article can be found at: http://www.jrothman.com/blog/mpd/2012/05/we-cannot-choose-between-management-and-leadership.html [...]

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