Leader vs Manager – The Debate Continues

It’s become a widely debated question: Are leadership and management two distinct functions or are they one and the same?  In my own personal opinion I see them as separate functions but performed by the same person — albeit a very capable person.  If I have the vision and the leadership skills to paint a picture of a possible future for my team and get them inspired to action, I’d better also have the capability to measure execution and progress — otherwise all I’ve done is provided short term motivation and a pretty picture.  That’s where management meets leadership in my book.

Robert I. Sutton provides food for thought in a recent Harvard Business Review post:

To do the right thing, a leader needs to understand what it takes to do things right, and to make sure they actually get done.  When we glorify leadership too much, and management too little, there is great risk of failing to act on this obvious but powerful message.

The Manager Tools forum has an interesting manager-versus-leader conversation you can read here.

You might also appreciate this MIT video lecture on the value of experienced managers.

Clink this link to read the HBR post: True Leaders Are Also Managers – Robert I. Sutton – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.


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