Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things.
This quote is from Peter Drucker, a legendary business thinker and is one of my favourites phrases relating to business and management. It is also one that I have used many times in client workshops when discussing the difference between management and leadership.
Anyway, I was thinking about the two ideas – management and leadership – and what they really mean. Looking into the origin of the words, here’s what I found that I thought was really interesting. These definitions come from an Etymology Dictionary:
- 1560s, probably from the Italian ‘maneggiare’ meaning “to handle,” esp. “to control a horse,” from the Latin manus “hand”. Influenced by the French manège “horsemanship” (earliest English sense was of handling horses), which also was from the Italian. Extended to other objects or business from 1570s. Slang sense of “get by” first recorded 1650s.
- “to guide,” Old English lædan “cause to go with one, lead,” causative of liðan “to travel. Meaning “to be in first place” is from late 14c. The noun is first recorded c.1300, “action of leading.” Meaning “the front or leading place” is from 1560s.
So, from their origins managers and management is about control, to handle something and the status quo whereas leaders, leadership and to lead is about momentum and traveling somewhere.
Combining these with Drucker’s quote, we can say that leadership is about doing the things that need to be done in order to create momentum and growth.
If we accept this as an idea, here’s my question: Does that not mean that leadership can exist at all levels of an orgainsation and that not to recognise that could stifle momentum and growth?
In a world where everything is changing so fast, and where the opportunities for growth and momentum can occur at all levels, should we not be training, encouraging and giving our people (all of them including ourselves) the space to lead and to create more momentum if we are to grow, whether that is as a team, as an individual or as a business?
Are you encouraging everyone in your organisation to lead in their own way?
More, what are you doing to actually help them lead?
Thanks to kk+ for the image.