Leadership versus Management

Before we begin our discussion on leadership, it is important to differentiate between the concepts of leadership and management. Many people will share that they think good leadership is more important to an organization's success than excellent management. This is akin to saying that speed is more important to an athlete than strength. The truth of the matter is that both are critical to success.

Over the almost 30 years I have worked in the industry, I have come to realize how rare excellent management is and how rarely it is appreciated and rewarded. In many organizations, when an individual contributor excels, he or she is promoted to a management position. The thought process is that if someone is proficient in a functional area, that person would naturally be able to manage others who are focused in that area of endeavor. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although some people clearly can make this leap, excellence in any endeavor and the ability to manage people in the same discipline are two very different sets of muscles. Working in the field of IT, it is sometimes painful to watch very talented technical people who entered the field because of certain skills and personality traits being asked to act in what can only be described as unnatural ways to try to manage the efforts of other technical contributors.

In my experience, there is a dearth of quality managers. People who can help teams execute and deliver results are a precious commodity. ...

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