Leadership versus Management

I’ve written several times here about leadership and its importance. I certainly have no objection to management, but it’s clear to me that while management is necessary to most enterprises in life, leadership leads to excellence.

The issue came up the other day when a workman from a large service company came to my house for repairs. As I always do, I engaged the repairman in conversation. He described his company as committed to numbers—hours worked, jobs finished, time required, costs, income—but it was unconcerned with the welfare of its employees. The net result was a hostile workforce and, not surprisingly, poor efficiency as reflected in the numbers and broad customer dissatisfaction.

I was reminded of my years as the head of various organizations. I learned very young that if I wanted results, I had to lead, not manage. That meant putting the mission and the welfare of my subordinates first. The two went hand in hand and were inseparable.

My job as a leader was to support my followers and help them to be the best that they could be. My most important duty was to look after the health, welfare, and safety of my guys. I drew the organization diagram of the various operations I headed showing me at the bottom lifting up my people, elevating them, watching what wonders they could achieve with my help.

More tomorrow.

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