Managing vs. Leading

What’s the difference between the two? Often used interchangeably, these two words mean very different things. We often hear about great leaders but not great managers. What’s the deal?

Managers, well, manage. Leaders lead.

Clear as mud?

Here are a couple quotes that might help clarify:

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

-Warren Bennis and Peter Drucker

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success. Leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”

-Stephen R. Covey

These are helpful, but here’s my rule of thumb:

Manage things, lead people.

Specifically, manage things like meeting agendas, requirement documents, and calendars.

Lead things that are people-centric like vision, meeting facilitation, decisions, delegation, engagement.

Leaders don’t get stuff done without managers. Execution and good sound management are essential to seeing a vision become reality. Really great things get done by both.

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