Leadership Insight : Do more than manage – Lead!

People sometimes ask me to explain the difference between management and leadership. Here’s my take on it in a nutshell: Manager work with the processes , leaders work with people. Both are necessary to make an organization run smoothly, but they have different functions.

To understand what I mean, think about some of the things that must happen on a military ship for it to function properly. The ship must be navigated, fueled, and supplied. It has various weapons systems that must be kept in good working order. The routine maintenance on a ship is endless, and there are dozens of processes related to the personnel onboard the ship.

All of these are processes that must be overseen. There are procedures that must be followed, schedules that must be created, inventories that must be maintained. These things will never happen without people to manage them. And if they are not managed, the ship will never be capable of fulfilling its purpose.

So what is the role of leaders? Leaders lead the people who manage the processes. If all the work in an organization were performed by machines, and the processes were monitored and controlled by computers, that organization wouldn’t need any leaders. But people do the work and manage the processes, and people don’t function like machines. They have feelings. They think. They have problems, hope and dreams. Though people can be managed, they would much rather be led. And when they are led, they perform at a much higher level.

I have yet to meet a good leader who wasn’t also a good manager. They begin by managing themselves well. Once they do that well, they learn how to manage within there area of expertise. Then they add to that the skills needed to work with and influence others. They learn to understand the dynamics of leadership. As Tom Mullins said, “Leaders must be good managers, but most managers are not necessarily good leaders.”

If you want to influence others, then you must learn to lead.

– John C. Maxwell on “Lead Up Principle #4” at his book : The 360 degrees Leader

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~ by Samuel Wirawibawa on July 26, 2013.

One Response to “Leadership Insight : Do more than manage – Lead!”

  1. I really like your distinction between managers and leaders. Thanks.

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