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The difference between leaders and managers

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From Seth Godin’s Blog on 22 Oct 2011

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.

Managers want authority. Leaders take responsibility.

We need both. But we have to be careful not to confuse them.

And it helps to remember that leaders are scarce and thus more valuable.

The difference between leaders and manager is a well-worn topic.

Here is another take

Management is about results. A manager is given certain assets – people, money, and equipment – and they are expected to make the most of them to deliver an expected outcome. Management is quantifiable, measurable, and almost a science. Companies gain a significant advantage over competitors by being more adept as practitioners of the management discipline.

Leadership is an art. It’s the secret ingredient that makes people commit more of themselves to their work, to make extra effort, and make work personal and not just part of their job.

Management is almost mechanical and  a well-understood discipline.  Leadership is selling the vision and engaging people and is not so easily learned or replicated.

Managers focus on yesterday and today.  Leaders invent tomorrow.

People report to managers, but they follow leaders.  

People who have no followers are not leaders – no matter where they are in the organizational hierarchy.

Admired leaders focus their time and attention on others. They do not place themselves at the center; they place others there. They do not seek the attention of others; they give their attention to others. They do not focus on satisfying their own aims and desires; they look for ways to respond to the needs and interests of their constituents. They are not self-centered; they are constituent-centered.

At times leadership has to be tough.   Leadership is also about getting the right people in the right jobs and getting the wrong people out.

By about age 25-35 it’s interesting how people sort themselves out in the workplace – Leader, manager, or individual contributor.  And generally, the choice they make will follow them to the end of their careers.

Who better to consult in this topic than Steve Jobs. Here are a few quotes

On employees

My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.
—CNNMoney.com/Fortune, February 2008

On firing employees…

It’s painful when you have some people who are not the best people in the world and you have to get rid of them; but I found my job has sometimes exactly been that—to get rid of some people who didn’t measure up and I’ve always tried to do it in a humane way. But nonetheless it has to be done and it is never fun.
—Smithsonian Institution Oral and Video Histories, April 20, 1995

On a culture of excellence…

People judge you by your performance, so focus on the outcome. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
—Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward, 1987

On corporate culture…

It’s not just recruiting. After recruiting, it’s building an environment that makes people feel they are surrounded by equally talented people and their work is bigger than they are. The feeling that the work will have tremendous influence and is part of a strong, clear vision—all those things.
—In the Company of Giants, 1997

On Accomplishment…

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me.… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful—that’s what matters to me.
—CNNMoney/Fortune, May 25, 1993

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Written by frrl

October 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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