Management or Leadership - Which Do You Need?

What is the difference between leadership and management, and which is most important to our organizations? Leadership Theorist John Kotter says that effective managers must know how to lead, as well as to manage; he further states that organizations face extinction if leadership is not present.

In a competent nonprofit, our board members, executive director and other staff and volunteers pool their talents and training to both lead and manage the organization. If this does not occur, the community and the agency clients will get far less than what they should expect from the organization.

Here's a quick test of YOUR day-to-day efforts. Use this to determine whether you are utilizing management skills, providing leadership or some combination. Choose from the following pairs of options to describe yourself. Are you moreā€¦

_____ visionary OR _____ rational
_____ passionate OR _____ business-like
_____ creative OR _____ persistent
_____ inspiring OR _____ tough-minded
_____ innovative OR _____ analytical
_____ courageous OR _____ structured
_____ imaginative OR _____ deliberate
_____ experimental OR _____ authoritative
_____ independent OR _____ stabilizing
_____ sharing of knowledge OR _____ centralizing of knowledge
_____ trusting OR _____ guarded
_____ warm and radiant OR _____ cool and reserved
_____ expressing humility OR _____ rarely admitting to being wrong
_____ an initiator OR _____ an implementer
_____ a coach, consultant, teacher OR _____ a boss
_____ doing the right things OR _____ doing things right

(Source: Anatomy of a Leader: Where Are the Leaders of Tomorrow? by Genevieve Capowski)

From the list above, the left-hand column lists leader-like traits, with those noted on the right more typical of managers. Management is a more formal, scientific process that uses proven tools and techniques, and relies on skills like planning, budgeting and controlling. It works to produce predictable, orderly systems. Leadership involves more obscure elements of working with people and other resources: vision, persuasion and motivation, change and transformation.

"Taken to their extreme, the leader is an inspirational figure and the manager is a stodgy bureaucrat mired in the status quo," says Andrew duBrin, author of Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills. "But we must be careful not to downplay the importance of management. Effective leaders have to be good managers themselves, or be supported by effective managers...In short, the difference between leadership and management is one of emphasis. Effective leaders also manage, and effective managers also lead."

Strong Leaders / Strong Stories

Strong leaders have strong stories, and a solid sense of "self" as a leader.  But too often, even strong women view themselves or are perceived as being very good at "getting things done," but not as valuable strategic resources. What can you do to change this?  Find Out More Here