Seth Godin on Leader vs Manager

Managers work to get their employees to do what they did yesterday, but a little faster and a little cheaper. Leaders, on the other hand, know where they’d like to go, but understand that they can’t get there without their tribe, without giving those they lead the tools to make something happen.

There’s a little more to his blog than those first two lines; you can read it here.

The whole leadership vs. management debate is a topic I love and one I write about often.  You can find past posts by using the search box on the home page (if you don’t see a “home” icon, click on the blog title).  Search on the words leadership, versus, or vs.  Here’s a quote from one of them:

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.

You can read the entire post here.

You may also enjoy:  Flexing From Leader To Manager And Back Again.


5 Replies to “Seth Godin on Leader vs Manager”

  1. It’s quite simple – “Manage Things, Lead People” (Jim Clemmer)

    From “Servant Leadership” (Wikipedia): A servant leader is someone who is servant first, who has responsibility to be in the world, and so he contributes to the well-being of people and community. A servant leader looks to the needs of the people and asks himself how he can help them to solve problems and promote personal development. He places his main focus on people, because only content and motivated people are able to reach their targets and to fulfill the set expectations.

    In his essay The Servant as Leader, (Robert K) Greenleaf said:
    It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

    There are a lot of managers out there … but few true leaders.


    1. Very astute, Chuck.

      And I agree especially with the last comment. In North America, it’s common for people to be promoted into management positions based on tenure rather than leadership skills. You might enjoy this site — This is some of the best management/leadership material I’ve come across. I love their podcasts. They demonstrate a unique combination of humility and hutzpah.



  2. he manager administers; the leader innovates.

    The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.

    The manager maintains; the leader develops.

    The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.

    The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.

    The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.

    The managers asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.

    Managers have their eyes on the bottom line; leaders have their eyes on the horizon.

    The manager imitates; the leader originates.

    The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.

    The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his own person.

    The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

    Warren Bennis~


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