No More Managing vs. Leading

Looking back can be fun. With this blog post I did some looking back and found that I have new clarity. Back in April 2012, I wrote about Managing vs. Leading. I pointed out that leading sometimes is difficult to do and had some thoughts on how to do it better. Going way back in 2007, when I was blogging internally at Intel, I wrote Are You a Manager, a Leader or Both?. I did not re-post it here, sorry. Here are some of the key points –

  • Management is about authority, and leadership is about influence.
  • Managers have the authority to make things happen. They can do it by force (reward and punishment), by simply “pulling rank.” Managers who lead, and leaders who aren’t managers, reach goals through influence. And influence comes from trust. Trust – the person’s expertise, integrity and empathy as perceived by others.
  • Simply put – people are required to follow managers. They choose to follow leaders.

Some folks continually want this to be a question of which is better? Which label that you want to have attached to you? Maybe it is a status thing?  Which one is cooler? Whatever your reason is to pick one over the other – I say, it does not matter. In order to execute on a vision, both leadership and management are needed at every level. I was interviewed recently and the question was, “which is your style better suited – managing or leading?” I tried my best to answer the question with it depends on the situation. I feel that depending on the situation in each particular moment you will need to be a manager or a leader or both. I finished my answer with, “the focus will be on: Whatever the team needs from me right now to make a wildly successful journey from vision to reality!”

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