Leadership or management? Yes...

The word management derives from the Latin word “manus”, and refers to the hand, and in old Roman law referred to the power over other people, especially that of a man over his wife. We associate management with tasks, targets, budgets, policies, procedures and keeping things steady.

Leadership is more like the captain of a ship who sets the course. We associate leadership with vision, inspiration, potential and change.

I like to compare leadership to an orchestra conductor. Orchestra conductors have to be able to hear in their mind how they want the music to sound and then convince the orchestra to agree with, and even be inspired by, that “vision” and put their heart, soul and professional pride into making it sound that way. The leader orchestrates synergy. The flute player, alone, cannot do justice to Beethoven’s concerto for violin and orchestra in D major. In order for that, the entire orchestra needs the leadership of the conductor.

Clearly, management and leadership and management are different charisms. You can be a good manager without being a leader. You can be a leader without managing. The most successful people, though, are those authentic leaders that gird themselves with the mantle of management. The two are not mutually exclusive, but different functions, and should not be confused. Undoubtedly, both are necessary as we endeavour to chart a course through the turbulent waters of the 21st Century.

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