During a recent phone interview, I was asked “What’s the difference between leadership and management?”
Have you ever stopped to think about it? I’m a little embarrassed to say that I haven’t.
I think I muttered something about servant leadership, and how as a manager I’ve always tried to make it possible for those who report to me to have fun and be creative in solving problems, and I’ve seen my role primarily as obstacle-remover. And that as far as leadership goes, it doesn’t need to be tied to management, and it’s about setting direction and giving guidance and so on.
I was curious, so after I answered, I asked my interviewer what his answer would be. (I have a habit of doing that in interviews. Some people find it unnerving, but I like conversational interviews.) He had a very articulate answer about how leadership and management are separate things, and how leadership was about advocating for a position or a direction from any role, and how management was about managing and cultivating resources. (I’m not quoting him directly, but that was the gist of it.) Good answer, I thought, and one not too far from my own, so… whew.
But now I turn to you, dear readers: how would you describe the difference between leadership and management?