In this second article of the leadership series, we’ll delve into the differences between management and leadership. Let’s begin with some definitions. According to the OED, management is defined as:
“The process of dealing with or controlling things or people”
Leadership is defined by the OED as:
“The action of leading a group of people or an organization”
The first definition is striking, even alarming, in its use of the verb “control” – a word with often negative connotations. Through the absence of the controlling element, the definition of leadership indicates that the role is on one hand more positive, and on the other more complex.
The Smarp blog highlights the differences between managers and leaders by emphasizing that managers are still followers, as they “follow the vision” and “endorse the culture” while leaders “set the vision” and “shape the culture”.
The overarching premise of leadership is that through ideas, vision and examples, the leader inspires people to follow their path.
Leadership guru Simon Sinek insists that leadership is not being in charge but taking care of those in our charge. The key difference is that managers, by controlling, seek to be in charge of the output or results of their staff. In contrast, leaders are not responsible for the job performed by their people, but rather they are responsible for the people doing the job.
In term of project management, Sinek’s teachings are highly representative of the “Servant leader” associated with Agile Project Management.
We surmise by saying that a project leader hires the right people for the job and facilitates their work by removing obstacles from their path.