A good manager does things right. A leader does the right things. Doing the right things implies a goal, a direction, an objective, a vision, a dream, a path, a reach.
Lots of people spend their lives climbing a ladder — and then they get to the top of the wrong wall. Most losing organizations are over-managed and under-led. Their managers accomplish the wrong things beautifully and efficiently. They climb the wrong wall.
Managing is about efficiency. Leading is about effectiveness. Managing is about how. Leading is about what and why. Management is about systems, controls, procedures, policies, and structure. Leadership is about trust — about people.
Leadership is about innovating and initiating. Management is about copying, about managing the status quo. Leadership is creative, adaptive, and agile. Leadership looks at the horizon, not just the bottom line.
Leaders base their vision, their appeal to others, and their integrity on reality, on the facts, on a careful estimate of the forces at play, and on the trends and contradictions. They develop the means for changing the original balance of forces so that their vision can be realized.
A leader is someone who has the capacity to create a compelling vision that takes people to a new place, and to translate that vision into action. Leaders draw other people to them by enrolling them in their vision. What leaders do is inspire people, empower them.
They pull rather than push. This “pull” style of leadership attracts and energizes people to enroll in a vision of the future. It motivates people by helping them identify with the task and the goal rather than by rewarding or punishing them.
There is a profound difference between management and leadership, and both are important “To manage” means “to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct.” “Leading” is “influencing, guiding in direction, course, action, opinion.” The distinction is crucial.