It’s Time to Stop Confusing Leadership and Management

Leadership is deciding what has to be done and getting others to want to do it. 
 
In working with clientsI have found that often leadership and management are used interchangeably. However, leaders and managers have very distinct responsibilities. Confusing the two or treating them the same can cause create very dysfunctional organizations and overwhelmed leaders. 
 
First, let me explain the practical difference between management and leadership.
 
Management is about work standards, resource allocation, and organizational design. Management historically got its start at the onset of World War I. It was around that time that Harvard University created its masters programs while other schools and universities also focused their efforts on varying fields within business management.
 
Leadership, on the other hand, is about vision, motivation, and trust. Developing people and organizations to grow and have a bigger impact. Leaders must deal with change and strongly consider time as they move their team or organization into the future. 
 
I am a lifelong Cubs fan. Seeing them win the World Series was an unforgettable experience. I believe that the key to their success was the hiring of a new manager, Joe Maddon. Management in baseball is about the use of data and use of statistics – how fast a player can run, the speed of their pitch, the angle they hit the ball ator how quickly they move in the outfield. This provides the manager with a very large amount of data. But, just collecting tons of data is not enough. The manager also has to decide what data is most important to collect in analyzing a players strength and therefore the overall strength of the team.
 
Leadership on the other hand is about heartbeat. A leader must learn about that individual, interview themand perhaps even interview their family members to find out if they are a good fit for the team. Will they be more concerned about the name on the back of their jersey than the name the front? While a player may have the right data it is also important to make sure they will fit into our team or organization. 
 
Mangement is a science. Leadership is an art. 
 
As you move up in your team or organization with increasing responsibilities you may find that you will be spending less time on management tasks of your job – those responsibilities should be delegated to those you have selected to be on your winning team. Your responsibility now lies in keeping your team focused on the vision, keeping them motivatedand continually building their trust in you and in themselves. 
 

We want to hear from you! Share with us in the comments below how you think leadership and management differ.


Dr. Jeffrey McCausland, Founder & CEO of Diamond6 Leadership & Strategy, LLC is a retired Army Colonel with over 30 years of unique and challenging leadership experiences. As a retired military officer and veteran, Jeff’s work has taken him all over the world serving in a variety of command and staff positions in places such as the on National Security Council Staff, U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA, and the Pentagon.

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