2Leaders Versus Titled Executives: Leadership Differs from Management

Leadership and management are not the same. Amazingly, people often get this wrong. Bosses are frequently confused with leaders, and subordinates are confused with followers. That said, a boss may very well be a leader, but it is not a foregone conclusion. Just because a boss has the title or power in the relationship, doesn't mean that boss is a leader. We have all seen these bosses in action—the titled executive or manager who oversees a large team but has no followers. Some employees do as they are instructed by the boss, but not because they are being led or because those employees are drawn to follow, but rather because they fear the boss's reprisals. This is not leadership.

Sometimes we see this demonstrated in nonbusiness settings, such as politics. All too frequently, we find ourselves governed by a politician who, although they were voted into office, they are not an actual leader. These individuals may not even have the credentials to be qualified for the role. Although they certainly have the position, they do not garner a broad following.

My favorite book on explaining the differences between leadership and management is A Force for Change by John Kotter. We confuse leadership with people in managerial functions. Kotter lays out the stark differences between mobilizing groups of people in a common direction (leadership) and organizing a group of people to accomplish a task or run a function (management). ...

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