In a recent discussion on the state of a software company, a programmer declared, "We don't need managers around here, we need leaders!"
I'm always puzzled by statements like this.
"How do you see the difference between management and leadership?" I asked.
"Managers do things right, and leaders do the right thing," the programmer replied, repeating a Warren Bennis quote.
"But what do they do differently?" I pressed.
"Managers manage, and leaders lead," the programmer replied with conviction.
Here's how leadership professor John Kotter describes the difference between management and leadership (which I paraphrase here):
- establishing timetables and steps for achieving needed results and allocating resources to make it happen
- creating structure, staffing and delegating responsibility, and having the authority to accomplish goals
- monitoring results, identifying deviations, and planning and organizing to solve problems
- producing key results expected by various stakeholders
- establishing direction, and developing a vision for the future
- aligning people, modeling the vision, influencing, and creating teams and coalitions
- inspiring people to overcome barriers to change by satisfying basic human needs
- producing useful change
Reading these lists, it's clear to me that organizations need both.