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Management vs Leadership

I gave a talk at UberConfX last week. A couple minutes into the talk, a participant raised his hand to ask why I kept using the terms Manager and Leader interchangeably.


Did I think they were the same thing?


I quickly responded, “No” and posed the same question back to the audience. It resulted in a wonderful ad-hoc discussion on the difference between these two roles.


Here is my tldr reflection:

Management - doing things right

Leadership - doing the right things


Management is about coping with complexity

  • Planning and budgeting

  • Organizing and people staffing

  • Must be fail-safe and risk-free

  • Helping normal people who behave in normal ways complete routine jobs day after day

Leadership is about coping with change

  • Setting a direction

  • Motivating and inspiring

  • Articulating the organization's vision

  • Involving people in deciding how to achieve the vision

  • Giving people a sense of empowerment and control

  • Recognizing and rewarding success


Leadership compliments management, but it does not replace it.




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