Are You a Manager -- or a Leader?

Leadership talent -- you either have it or you don't, right? Wrong. You can acquire and strengthen leadership skills. But first, understand how they differ from management skills.

Management is all about bringing order and predictability so an organization can cope with complexity. Leadership is about helping people cope with rapid change. For example, if your change initiative is encountering major resistance, don't focus on controlling employees' activities and solving problems to enable people to complete routine jobs every day. That's management. Instead, concentrate on motivating and inspiring; for instance, by pushing responsibility down to teams. You'll stir up feelings of belonging and self-esteem--essential for people to embrace needed change.

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  September 19, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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Simplified version of management

Is it that easy - leadership being about rapid change and management about reducing complexity? And why have not even the smartest managers found out yet?

In reality, management is dealing with uncertainty. Just concentrating on motivation (heating up people) and pushing responsibility down to teams may lead to desaster -- if issues like adequate pay and incentives, listening to employees, and sustained interest in finding root causes and solutions are not addressed.

Perhaps this is why management gurus are not the best practitioners.

Posted by: Philip Eastman | September 21, 2008 7:29 AM

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