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Leadership vs Managment
Do you ever get confused about the difference between leadership and management? I certainly do and this is a major part of what I do for a living.
In his article, "What Leaders Really Do," John Kotter does a good job of defining the terms in a very practical way that most of us can understand. I have used sections of his article and other books for several years now in my courses and workshops, and the participants seem to appreciate his pragmatic approach.
According to Kotter (2003), Leadership is neither mystical nor mysterious, and has little to do with charisma or any other dimension of human personality. "Leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary systems of action. Each has its own function and characteristic activities. Both are necessary for success in an increasingly complex and volatile business environment." (Kotter. p. 29)
To simplify the matter further, let me outline the two systems and add some of my own insights and observations about how they work.
The primary role of management is to deal with organizational complexity. Organizational complexity can be defined as the "transactions" or "steps" that are necessary to complete a specific job or task. They occur throughout the organization on a moment-by-moment basis, and without the right management system, they can become overwhelming to workers at any level.
In my view, complexity is the major barrier to organizational growth and one of the most misunderstood aspects of good management. It is the job of management to keep track of the time, tools, and tasks that keep the organization running smoothly. To do so, Kotter feels that managers should pay particular attention to the following three focus areas:
In contrast to management, the primary role of leadership is to help the organization cope with change. Everything is constantly changing, and it is essential that an organization's leadership spend a great deal time making informed decisions about what is coming next and how to respond to it.
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