Leadership and Management 101

Anyone who is a student of leadership knows there is no single, definitive definition of leadership. The notion is rich with interdisciplinary origins and application. Embarking on this life-long leadership voyage in the last several years, I have started to learn the ins and outs of what it means to be a leader. 

The more books I read on leadership, the more it seems leadership is glorified, elevated, and spotlighted at the expense of discounting management as something inferior or unhealthy. Well, I believe leadership and management are two sides of the same coin. Both are indispensable for organizational success. I hope the following theories and different angles from leading voices on leadership and management will accelerate your learning as Kingdom-minded influencers. 

Warren Bennis: “Leading Change: The Leader as the Chief Transformation Officer”

“Management is getting people to do what needs to be done. Leadership is getting people to want to do what needs to be done. Managers push. Leaders pull. Managers command. Leaders communicate.”

Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.”

Leaders conquer the context – the volatile, turbulent, ambiguous surroundings that sometimes seem to conspire against us and will surely suffocate us if we let them – while managers surrender to it. The manager administrates, the leader innovates. The manager is a copy, the leader develops. The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people. The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust. The manager has a short-range view, the leader has a long-range perspective. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why? The manager has a view on the bottom line; the leader has a view on the horizon. The manager initiates, the leader originates. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it. Managers do things right, leaders do the right things.”

John W. Gardner: “On Leadership”

“Leaders and leader/managers distinguish themselves from the general run of managers in at least six respects:

1. They think longer term—beyond the day’s crises, beyond the quarterly report, beyond the horizon.

2. In thinking about the unit they are heading, they grasp its relationship to larger realities—the larger organization of which they are a part, conditions external to the organization, global trends.

3. They reach and influence constituents beyond their jurisdictions, beyond boundaries. Thomas Jefferson influenced people all over Europe. Gandhi influenced people all over the world. In an organization, leaders extend their reach across bureaucratic boundaries—often a distinct advantage in a world too complex and tumultuous to be handled “through channels.” Leaders’ capacity to rise above jurisdictions may enable them to bind together the fragmented constituencies that must work together to solve a problem.

4. They put heavy emphasis on the intangibles of vision, values, and motivation and understand intuitively the non-rational and unconscious elements in leader constituent interaction.

5. They have the political skill to cope with the conflicting requirements of multiple constituencies.

6. They think in terms of renewal.

“The manager is more tightly linked to an organization than is the leader. Indeed, the leader may have no organization at all.”

James Kouzes and Barry Posner: “The Leadership Challenge: How to keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations

The word lead, at its root, means ‘go, travel, guide.’ Leadership has about it a kinesthetic feel, a sense of movement…[Leaders] begin the quest for a new order. They venture into unexplored territory and guide us to new and unfamiliar destinations. In contrast, the root origin of manage is a word meaning ‘hand.’ At its core, managing is about ‘handling’ things, about maintaining order, about organization and control. The critical difference between management and leadership is reflected in the root meanings of the two words – the difference between what it means to handle things and what it means to go places.”

Abraham Zaleznik: “Managers and Leaders: Are they Different?”

“Managers are concerned about how things get done and leaders are concerned with what the things mean to people. Leaders and managers differ in their conceptions. Managers tend to view work as an enabling process involving some combination of people and ideas interacting to establish strategy and make decisions. Where managers act to limit choices, leaders work in the opposite direction, to develop fresh approaches to longstanding problems and to open issues for new options…leaders create excitement in work.”

John Kotter: “What Leaders Really Do”

“Management is about coping with complexity. Its practices and procedures are largely responses to one of the most significant developments of the twentieth century: the emergence of large organizations.  Without good management, complex enterprises tend to become chaotic in ways that threaten their very existence. Good management brings a degree of order and consistency to key dimensions like the quality and profitability of products.

Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change. Part of the reason it has become so important in recent years is that the business world has become more competitive and more volatile. Faster technological change, greater international competition, the deregulation of markets, overcapacity in capital-intensive industries, an unstable oil cartel, raiders with junk bonds, and the changing demographics of the work-force are among the many factors that have contributed to this shift. The net result is that doing what was done yesterday, or doing it 5% better, is no longer a formula for success. Major changes are more and more necessary to survive and compete effectively in this new environment. More change always demands more leadership.”

James M. Burns: “Leadership”

“Transactional (management) versus Transformational (leadership)”

Transactional leadership: Such leadership occurs when one person takes the initiative in making contact with others for the purpose of an exchange of valued things.

Transforming leadership: Such leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise on another to higher levels of motivation and morality. Their purposes, which might have started out as separate but related, as in transactional leadership, become fused.

Peter Drucker: “Peter Drucker: Training & Development”

“The test of any leader is not what he or she accomplishes. It is what happens when they leave the scene. It is the succession that is the test. If the enterprise collapses the moment these wonderful, charismatic leaders leave, that is not leadership. That is – very bluntly – deception.

“…I have always stressed that leadership is responsibility. Leadership is accountability. Leadership is doing…”

“…[As] for separating management from leadership, that is nonsense – as much nonsense as separating management from entrepreneurship. Those are part and parcel of the same job. They are different to be sure, but only as different as the right hand from the left or the nose from the mouth. They belong to the same body.”

Richard Pascale: “Taking the Lid Off Leadership”

“Management is the exercise of authority and influence to achieve levels of performance consistent with previously demonstrated levels…Leadership is making happen what wouldn’t happen anyway…[and will] always entail working at the edge of what is acceptable.

George Weathersby: “Leading versus Management”

“Management is the allocation of scarce resources against an organization’s objective, the setting of priorities, the design of work and the achievement of results. Most important, it’s about controlling. Leadership, on the other hand, focuses on the creation of a common vision. It means motivating people to contribute to the vision and encouraging them to align their self-interest with that of the organization. It means persuading, not commanding.”

John Mariotti: “Leadership Matters”

“People who are ‘managed’ well may lack the inclination to put forth the kind of effort necessary for success – unless they have good leaders. Great leaders get extraordinary results from ordinary people. Great managers simply get well-planned and sometimes well-executed outcomes, but seldom the huge successes that arise from the passion and enthusiastic commitment inspired by true leadership. Leaders are the architects. Managers are the builders. Both are necessary, but without the architect, there is nothing special to build.”

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: “The New Managerial Work”

“The old bases of managerial authority are eroding, and new tools of leadership are taking their place. Managers whose power derived from hierarchy and who were accustomed to a limited area of personal control are learning to shift their perspectives and widen their horizons. The new managerial work consists of looking outside a defined area of responsibility to sense opportunities and of forming project teams drawn from any relevant sphere to address them. It involves communication and collaboration across functions, across divisions, and across companies whose activities and resources overlap. Thus rank, title, or official charter will be less important factors in success at the new managerial work than having the knowledge, skills, and sensitivity to mobilize people and motivate them to do their best.”

Tom Peters: “Thriving on Chaos”

“Peters draws from Bennis’s and Kouzes and Posner’s conceptions of leadership and management outlined above. Peters believes that “Developing a vision and, more important, living it vigorously are essential elements of leadership….Vision occupies an equally important place of honor in the supervisor’s or middle manager’s world.”

* Adapted from Stephen Covey’s “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness”