“Leadership” or “Management”? Which one is better? A million-dollar question and a cliché. My short answer is none.
When we talk about “managers,” the mental image that comes to our minds is a guy in a formal professional dress that makes everyone work for the company. And when we talk about a “leader,” we are probably talking about some kind of hero who has great ideas and has a big heart, and people just want to follow him. Well, I think the mental image that we have about these two words is broken for several reasons. But here is this small note, we are going to explore just one.
Leadership and management are two hats for one head
Management and leadership are two roles that can fit in one person. Just like we can be a husband and a dad, we human beings are capable of being a leader and a manager at different times of the day.
Understanding this is crucial since we are in a time that leadership sells and management sucks. The next generation sees management and managers as things that they want to avoid and leadership as a way to succeed. In reality, these roles complete each other when it comes to decisions making and motations of a founder.
The difference between leadership and management
While there are so many definitions and researches that we can explore to compare the differences between the two roles, I think we can find the main differences in the following quotes from the experts.
1- Organizational Goals vs. Shared Interest
“Management is the process which keeps the current systems operating through planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem-solving.”John Kotter, On what Leaders Really Do, 1999
“Leadership is human communication which modifies the attitudes and behaviors of others in order to meet shared group goals and needs.”Michael Hackman and Craig Johonson, Leadership: A Communication Perspective, 2004
2- Stability vs. Change
“We think of managers in times of stability, harmony, maintenance, and constancy. We think of leaders we recall times of turbulence, conflict, innovation, and change.”James Kouzes and Barry Posner. The leadership Challenge, 1987
3- Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
“Managers are people who do things right, and leaders are people who do the right things.”Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Change, 1985
4- Vision vs. Mission
“Leaders are primarily responsible for creating vision while managers are most involved in implementing vision.”Edwin Locke, The Essence of Leadership, 1991
5- Challenge vs. Solution
“Managers are problem solvers. Leaders are problem finders.”Tom Peters and Nancy Austin, A Passion for Excellence, 1985