05
Sep
2012
selwyn

Leadership versus management

There is a statement that we regularly hear about the role that change managers play in projects.  It usually starts off something like this:

As change agents we often find ourselves in leadership positions on projects where we do not have direct management over people.

It is an easy mantra to repeat, but what is the difference between the term leadership and management when it comes to organizational change?  Does this go beyond the common notion that leadership is about thinking strategically and management about the tactical?

Warren Bennis gave a great comparison between the terms leadership and management in his 1989 book, On Becoming a Leader.  He contrasted leaders as “doing the right thing” versus managers as “doing things right.”  In addition, he outlined differences of leaders and managers as follows:

Leaders Managers
Innovate Administer
Are Original Are a Copy
Develop Maintain
Focus on People Focus on Structure
Trust Control
Long Term Short Term
Why How/When
Horizon Bottom Line
Originate Imitate
Challenge Status Quo Maintain Status Quo
Individual Foot Soldier

Sometimes the work of a change agent feels like a tiring, uphill battle.  Remember, that part of the change agent’s job is being a leader-- taking part in the leadership qualities listed above without having a direct management role.  It can be challenging, but there is great satisfaction in seeing the long term benefits pay off in the people you inspire along the way.