I agree. It’s not an either or…the two roles can vary in a day.
In the last week, the comparison of leader vs. manager has popped up a couple of times in my LinkedIn feed usually through a quote that implies that it’s better to be a leader than a manager. Here is one as an example, from someone whose ideas I admire:
Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. –Tom Peters
While I am hoping that Tom intended to demonstrate the different skills inherent in managing and leading, it is likely taken by most people as an either or statement. If you are a manager, all you do is arrange and tell, but when you are a leader, the choirs sing and the heavens part as you nurture and enhance your team. Most readers would also take those attributes and assign them by proxy to managers and leaders – because surelyit’s better to be a leader…
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I like that one of the points of his post is that maybe distinguishing between the two, and thinking about in which cases each fits, is probably more important that valuing one over the other outright.
I find myself often wishing I was managed more than being led. For me, management seems more relevant to content, technical skills, and subject matter. Leadership seems more about personality and motivation, which maybe isn’t as needed in a well run workplace – and can even halt momentum like an ill timed push on a swing.
Context is really important. I am thinking of my job and the ways in which I wear a different hat on the same day, but at different meetings (context). Thanks for reading and commenting!