Management vs. Leadership

Here’s a a cliche busting thought worth noting from page 28 of Joseph L. Badaracco’s Managing in the Gray.

One of today’s reigning cliches [in business circles] puts the stereotype succinctly: leaders do the right things, and mangers do things in the right way.

This cliche is badly misleading.  It ignores the fact that the great leaders of history were often effective managers who got the process right. We remember Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela for their galvanizing speeches, heroic self-sacrifice, and the millions of people they inspired.  But serious biographies of great leaders show they understood the importance of process.  In meeting after meeting, over months and years, they poured time and energy into managing the movements and organizations that amplified their impact on the world.

For example, we might have never heard King’s “I Have a Dream” speech if he hadn’t spent weeks beforehand forging a coalition of six fractious civil rights groups and organizing what became the March on Washington.

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