Managers vs. Leaders – The Debate Continues 1

Do we manage more than we lead or lead more than we manage? Is there really that much a of a difference between the two to even bother trying to justify one over the other? A half-century ago Peter F. Drucker – who is considered to be the most influential management thinkers of all time – brought the practice of management to the forefront; and other notables have been trying to “one-up” him ever since. The debate will continue long after you’ve read this posting.

I’ve spent 40+ years managing and leading people, and based on my experiences I believe the two: managers and leaders, have more in common with one another – than not. They are  mutually inclusive of one another – not mutually exclusive of one another. The lines between the two are definitely blurred – if not disappearing all together.

“Leadership cannot simply delegate management; instead of distinguishing managers from leaders, we should be seeing managers as leaders, and leadership as management practiced well.” – Henry Mintzberg

The role of Manager and Leader is situationally based. You must insure that the day-to-day tasks that need to get done to make the organization work are being done (that’s managing). But you also need to spend some of your time thinking about where the organization needs to go to stay competitive and to maintain or grow your market share (that’s leading). To be successful, Managers and Leaders need to be able to communicate, educate and delegate effectively if they are going to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization, and / or implement the changes necessary to take the organization to where it needs to go. And … in order to do either of those jobs well, they need a variety of skills.

Both Managers and Leaders need to be able to:

  • Problem solve and resolve conflict
  • Build collaborative teams
  • Teach and mentor
  • Communicate and listen
  • Plan and forward think
  • Be patient, empathetic, flexible and open-minded.

Henry Mintzberg is right. Forget about being a leader – practice managing well and people will want to follow you. You may have been given the title of manager, or people may refer to you as their leader, but if no one is buying into what you are saying or choosing to follow you – then it really doesn’t matter what title you have. – Cheers, 🙂

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