My View on Leadership vs. Management

Opinion / Leadership

My View on Leadership vs. Management
David Whitfield , Professor, United States

We manage things: accounts, processes, machines. We lead people.

I believe T. Bar Greenfield, that, "...organizations are accomplished by people and people are responsible for what goes on in them." That means leaders are responsible for leading people toward a clearly stated vision, an articulated mission, and attainable goals. I believe this is realized primarily through leadership. People want to be led, not managed, though both leadership skills and management skills are necessary. Leaders take risks; managers follow rules. When managers don't follow rules and take risks in managing processes, accounts, etc., unfortunate things happen in the organization and to its constituents. Look at what happens when financial managers take risks in managing other people's money; JP Morgan comes to mind. Another example is what happened in 2008: again managers took risks and the rest is an ugly history.

Finally, effective leaders are similar to utilitarians: they take risk for the greater good. An example is the risk President Obama took to pursue Bin Laden. Another example is President Eisenhower's risk taking during World War II. His philosophy was "ends are infinite; means can never be." Too many means, exhaustion results; too few means leads to failure.
I would love your comments.

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