Raising the level of your leadership

Lead, Manage, Or Both?

LeaderManager (1)In 1892, Rudyard Kipling wrote: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” (Barrack-room Ballads). Of course, if you go far enough to the east, you end up in the west, and vice-versa.

Nothing annoys me more than interjecting a “never the twain shall meet” paradigm into leader versus manager discussions—as if you can only be one or the other. The words that come to mind are #**!/^<>#**, or suitable for my blog—garbage, really smelly garbage.

In simplest terms, managing is about today; leading is about tomorrow. Managing is about efficiency; leading is about effectiveness. Managing is about achieving goals; leading is about setting goals. And so on.

Yes, I know that some jobs require more managing than leading and others more leading than managing. Yes, I know that it is popular to elevate leading over managing (#**!/^<>#**). Yes, I also know that exclusively focusing on leading will yield a short-term debacle and exclusively focusing on managing will yield a long-term debacle. Small business owners know they have to do both. So do CEOs of large corporations.

If you are a department head (people working for you) in a college or retail store or church or manufacturing company or ____________ (you fill in the blank), some of your time will be spent managing; some will be spent leading. They are different tasks imbedded in the same job.

One thing they have in common is that both are about people: you manage people; you lead people. You design products, develop software, prepare sermons, keep the books, maintain machines, stock shelves…but people? You either manage them or lead them. So, anything you do to get better at either—managing or leading—is going to help you do your job better.

When you are managing, manage with excellence. When you are leading, lead with excellence. The people you are managing/leading are counting on you—to do both.

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© Copyright 2015 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company.

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  • On Leading Well…

    "The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."

    Kouzes & Posner


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