Simon, over at dba.simonheap.com, offered up a little pop quiz about the difference between leadership and management. It was extremely interesting. I took the quiz and found it to be rather easy -- I think I "aced" it, by the way -- and was delighted to see that a small discussion about leadership vs. management developed in the comments section. I thought I'd weigh in on this topic, since I've been in both positions. One commenter, Lisa, offered her view on Leaderhips vs. Management:
"I think leadership is more about HOW we do things and management is the daily practice of ensuring a team and company is optimally successful. I do not believe that certain tasks are leadership and others are management. I do not beleive [sic] that certain jobs are leadership and others are management."
I understand her viewpoint. Let me offer my take.
Leadership is the WHAT and WHY we do things while management deals with the WHO, WHEN, WHERE. Leadership establishes the direction of the organization and management handles the logistics needed to get it there. Leadership establishes the vision; management provides the hands. Leadership inspires and cheerleads; management coaches. Leadership inspires others to go beyond what they thought they could do while management gets others to do what they need to do. Leaders blaze the trail while managers keep the trails open and supply lines strong. Leaders are able to raise above the fray to see the entire campaign while managers concentrate on the battles at hand. Managers concentrate on this day, week, or month while leaders are already living in the next one, two, or five years ahead. Managers get things done; Leaders plan what things need to get done. Managers climb the ladders; Leaders make sure the ladders are against the right walls. I do believe that certain jobs and responsibilities belong to leadership and others to management. I also believe, however, that good leaders keep communication lines with management open so that their input can be considered as leadership considers and plans its next actions.
These beliefs do not negate the fact that one individual may fill either role in different contexts. One may be a leader in one campaign while filling manager shoes in another. In fact, unless we sign the paychecks, it's likely that we play both roles within our organization. But while one is in the "leader" role, there are different responsibilities, tasks, and skills that are utilized and brought to bear than when one is acting as a manager.
That being said, I do concede that the roles of leaders and managers sometimes cross and the line that delineates the two positions sometimes gets blurred. I contend, however, that the degree to which the roles overlap are indirectly proportionate to the level that the individual leader/manager holds within the organization. The higher the position, the smaller (or non-existent) the overlap.
Hey, for what its worth, that's my two cents...
By the way, here are my answers:
Lead: I use imagination, develop, talk strategy, instigate, ask questions, do the right thing, provide support, keep an eye on the horizon, am an architect, and ask why.
Manage: I use common sense, maintain, talk tactics, administrate, give answers, do things right, provide structure, keep an eye on the bottom line, am a builder, and ask how and when.
Pretty simple, huh?