The Best Article on Management vs. Leadership

February 19, 2013

In a recent Harvard Business Review article titled “Management is (Still) Not Leadership“, John Kotter explains (again) that management is very different from leadership.

Management is “a set of well-known processes… which help an organization to predictably do what it knows how to do well”.

Leadership is different.

[Leadership] is associated with taking an organization into the future, finding opportunities that are coming at it faster and faster and successfully exploiting those opportunities. Leadership is about vision, about people buying in, about empowerment and, most of all, about producing useful change. Leadership is not about attributes, it’s about behavior.

Why is this important? According to John Kotter:

There are very, very few organizations today that have sufficient leadership… Unless we recognize that we’re not talking about management when we speak of leadership, all we will try to do when we do need more leadership is work harder to manage. At a certain point, we end up with over-managed and under-led organizations, which are increasingly vulnerable in a fast-moving world.

Whatever your role is, it’s important to recognize that we need both managers and leaders:

We need superb management. And we need more superb leadership. We need to be able to make our complex organizations reliable and efficient. We need them to jump into the future — the right future — at an accelerated pace, no matter the size of the changes required to make that happen.

For more about leadership, make sure to read the full article at HBR.

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