Leadership and Management. Leaders and Managers. Are they different? Are they the same? Yes.

I remember writing an article for the local Board of Trade in the late 90’s around this very consideration and question. It essentially went like this.

The scope of leadership is organizational and around challenging and advancing standards whereas management is around systems and maintaining and meeting established standards. The leader creates the path. The manager ensures we stay on it. The focus of leadership is longer term and leading. The focus of management is day-to-day and supervisory. To that end, management ensures culture and leadership forges it; creates it. In so doing, management is transactional and focuses on control systems, while leadership is transformational and focuses on empowering. Ultimately, management manages established systems and the status quo, where leadership challenges same and creates change.

Consider these words of Dr. John Kotter. Management is about functioning… planning, organizing and controlling… to “ensure action does not go off of plan”. Leadership is about vision and buy in, and more. It still stands. I have seen both growing up in and around business my whole life… and into business to this day. The tools are different. The principles are not. Leaders work on the business. Managers work in it.

So, how are they same? First, they can both be practiced by the same individual… playing the role of manager and leader. Second, they both concern themselves with advancing the capacity of individuals, groups and structures to best work together for better results. Third, they both (in their own ways) provide guidance.

25+ years in teaching Organizational Behaviour at the College level and 40+ years in leadership training and development tells me that these skills can be manifested and practiced in the same individual playing both roles but that, at core, they demand two different mindsets with core character differences. While all virtues or strengths of character are powerful and useful for both roles and at the front and top lines and everywhere in between…

… core to management is Orderliness and core to Leadership is Creativity. Core to management is consolidation. Core to leadership is expansion. Leadership sets the tone and path. Management ensures we stay on it. Can someone fulfill both roles? I would suggest so. Should they? Consider this from Simon Sinek. The skill sets of leadership and management are different and complimentary… visionary and operational. With that in mind, I invite you to reflect on Creativity…

… and Orderliness….

Both roles of leader and manager require them but in different proportions and forms I contend. It is what I affectionately refer to as the “CO Split”. In my work around temperament there are builder types and mover types. Management are builders. Leaders are movers. You can be both but it is important to acknowledge and understand that, while both have value, they serve different purposes and require different core aspects of character driven mindset to excel at same. They can work parallel too, as Simon Sinek suggests. Still, at its most bottom and top lines, the backbone of the leader is about creating and advancing mission, meaning, vision and path. The backbone of the manager is about keeping us on it. And we need Excellence at both.

Peace, passion and prosperity…

Barry Lewis Green, The Unity Guy with Epic Engage.

“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ― Abraham Lincoln