Leadership Perspective, Reverse Paradigms: Leading vs. Managing

You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

ThisLeading vs Managing is a curious debate. Many in academia use management as the title for business leadership programs. For example, a well-known large university in my town offers a degree in management in the business school and allows for a minor in leadership, which is under the college of life sciences and agriculture. Fortunately, the professor leading that program understands leadership and knows how to apply it in a practical way. I don’t feel that a degree in management qualifies a person to lead an organization, a team, or a project. Its basis is in other areas.

As Stephen Covey points out, we manage time and lead people…we manage money and lead people…we manage project implementation and lead people…we manage things and lead people. There is a distinct difference.

Managing people fits an autocratic leadership style and not a transformational leadership style. It can be a form of overfunctioning. Top down leadership that is autocratic minimizes the synergy of the team.

Here’s a simple chart of my thoughts on the differences:

Topic Leader Manager
Style Transformational Transactional
Direction Engages Demands
Conflict Addresses Avoids
Risk Takes Minimizes
Affirmations Gives Takes
Concern Helps others to be right Being right
Blame Neutralizes Blames others
Energy Passion Control
Power Influence Authority
Focus Leading Managing
Seeks Consensus Mandate
Decisions Facilitates Makes
Culture Collaborative Authoritative
Activity Delegates Micromanages
Horizon Short-Term within Long-Term Short-Term
Creates Leaders on teams Puppets
Engages Followers Subordinates
Rules Uses principles Uses rules
Pathway Creates new Uses existing
Systems Utilizes Avoids
Persona Focus on vision and values Focus on self

As you see, there is a significant difference in these two paradigms.

Effective leadership requires healthy self-esteem, confidence, and constantly evolving skills.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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Hugh Ballou (Author)